Queensland has faced an early start to the bushfire season with fires breaking out in Noosa on the Sunshine Coast last week. Flames threatened homes and smoke blanketed cities across the state’s south east as fire services fought to bring the blaze under control.
Several residents were forced to flee their homes as fires came dangerously close to properties, with some residents resorting to using garden sprinklers to help save their homes. Temporary evacuation centers were set up to assist residents with asthma or those who chose to leave their properties to avoid the smoke.
Queensland’s Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) battled the fires late into the night and finally managed to bring the flames under control by about 4am on Saturday morning.
Fires also threatened other parts of the state, with a controlled burn on Bribie Island jumping containment lines, forcing the evacuation of campgrounds nearby. The blaze has since been contained.
The official start of the bushfire season was announced on 1 August with Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Minister, Craig Crawford, saying that the QFES had been preparing with landowners and managers since April for what is predicted to be a horror season.
Higher than average temperatures, low soil moisture and strong winds have fueled fires across the state much earlier than expected. However, with the memory of the 2018 bushfire season fresh in the minds of the Queensland Government, preparations have been in action since April to help mitigate the risks with the launch of Operation Cool Burn.
The operation uged landholders to prepare for the oncoming season by undertaking simple tasks like clearing overgrown vegetation around properties, mowing lawns, installing fire breaks and checking first aid kits and household fire action plans.
“Last season is fresh in our minds and the numbers are still confronting: four million hectares of land burnt, 2611 fires and 1984 bushfire community warnings issued,” Mr Crawford said earlier in August at the start of the bushfire season.
“Since the beginning of July, we’ve already had some significant bushfires in the Wide Bay area, particularly around Bundaberg and Hervey Bay, and in the Gold Coast hinterland.”
As preparations continue to reduce fire risks in the state, an investigation is now underway to determine the cause of the Noosa bushfire. Residents are also urged to keep an eye on weather conditions and ensure their bushfire action plans are up to date.