Fire crews brace for worst as threat peaks
AN INCIDENT control centre has been established at Caloundra Fire Station and a strike team of six crews is in place as firefighters prepare for a day when extreme conditions have all southeast Queensland on edge.
Local authority disaster management teams have been elevated to lean-forward status.
“We’re waiting for the worst,” Acting Rural Fire Services area director Andy Allan said.
“We’re expecting trouble anywhere.
“Rural brigades are all on alert and ready to go.”
The Caloundra strike team consists of one light attack vehicle, four medium attack and one heavy tanker but resources across the region were on full alert.
One firefighter told the Sunshine Coast Daily that “any thing that gets going, will go hard”.
By 10am the gauge had hit 33C at Sunshine Coast Airport while Nambour reached 34.2C at 10.30am with relative humidity down to just 21 per cent.
Forecast strong winds from the north west and north east to 30km/h were expected to further enhance the dangers into the afternoon.
Volunteer firefighters spent last night patrolling the Noosa North Shore and Teewah areas after being on the fire front until 3am Tuesday night, working throughout Wednesday establishing fire breaks and then using the dark of Thursday night to locate hot spots.
North Shore Rural Brigade first officer Mike Hancock said crews were back on the scene this morning.
“Windy, hot and dry conditions are all the things you don’t want,” he said.
The fire, which had originally jumped the river from a permitted burn on its south side, crossed back into Ringtail Forest yesterday when winds shifted to the north.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services advised that at 10.30am the bushfire was burning near the south eastern side of Lake Cootharaba, on the western edge of the Great Sandy National Park.
A spokesman said the fire was currently contained, however, smoke would continue to affect surrounding areas.
Firefighters were on scene monitoring and maintaining containment lines.
Residents were advised to close windows and doors and to keep any necessary medications close at hand.
A local fire ban remains in place in the area.