Queensland Fire Conditions Severe As Wind Picks Up
Gusty winds and soaring temperatures are testing exhausted firefighters as 105 bushfires continue to burn across Queensland and a severe heatwave spreads south.
Winds of up to 60 kilometres per hour are whipping through the Darling Downs and Granite Belt, where temperatures are approaching 40C in many districts.
In central Queensland, where bushfires have been raging for more than a week, 40 kilometres per hour gust have been recorded.
An emergency warning has been put in place for a bushfire approaching Winfield with the Queensland Rural Fire Service advising residents to leave immediately as it will soon be too dangerous to drive.
Meanwhile, four other fires have been designated as watch and act, with residents near Captain Creek, Karara, Lowmead and Carmila have been told to prepare to leave.
Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack, who is touring "devastated" areas in central Queensland, says the conditions remain concerning.
"We're still in the response phase of this firefight, there are still many fires burning out of control," he told reporters on Sunday.
"It's quite hot out there at the moment the winds have the potential to whip up at any stage, so we need to watch and wait and see."
READ MORE: Man Dies During Queensland Bushfire Crisis
McCormack paid tribute to the firefighters and volunteers who have been battling the blazes, which have destroyed more than 527 thousand hectares of land.
"There are people out there, they are exhausted, they are fighting the good fight for their community, for their districts and their lives, and they'll continue to do that," he said.
"Let's hope the weather turns in their favour this week."
The Bureau of Meteorology says the windy conditions combined with the hot and dry conditions have pushed the fire rating back to severe.
"There is still some days to go until we some relief ... there is no significant rain on the horizon especially in central Queensland before Tuesday," meteorologist Bruce Gunn said.
Forecast thunderstorms for Sunday won't produce rain but are expected to start more fires due to "dry lightning", Gunn said.
It comes as a tropical low, which is likely to form into a cyclone, heads southwest towards Cairns.
More than 400 interstate firefighters are battling the bushfires with the help of 20 aircraft.
The bushfire crisis saw its first loss of life on Friday night, with the death of a 21-year-old man at Rolleston, south of Emerald.
He was using a chainsaw to cut down a tree for a firebreak when the tree fell on him.