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Firefighters battle bushfire at Bundy national park

SMOKE CLOUD: A large bushfire in the Burrum Coast National Park. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail
SMOKE CLOUD: A large bushfire in the Burrum Coast National Park. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail Mike Knott

UPDATE 6.30PM

FIRE crews will battle through the night to contain a bushfire burning at Burrum Coast National Park.

The fire broke out about 8.20am today near Coonarr Rd and Palm Beach Rd.

By noon, there were 14 fire crews working to contain the fire and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services had urged visitors and nearby residents to avoid the area.

The fire spread throughout the day and jumped some containment lines before crews called in for some air support from water bombers, which arrived mid-afternoon.

QFES North Coast Acting Inspector Archie Andrews told the NewsMail this evening it was vital nearby residents remained vigilant as the fire was not under control.

"The key message is that people have enacted their bushfire plan so they are well prepared for any incident they may be faced with in coming days," he said.

"Also please follow instructions from emergency personnel.

"Make sure they take their valuable belongings and family members are all accounted for."

Acting Insp Andrews said no homes were in the immediate fire line, at the time, but residents were advised to call 000 if they believed their property came under threat.

As a precautionary measure, an urban crew was deployed into the community of Coonarr last night to support residents and provide adequate protection.

A large smoke haze is affecting the area and residents are advised to close windows, doors and if suffering from a respiratory condition, keep medications close by.

Regular updated information will be provided on the Rural Fire Service Queensland website at www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au.

Acting Insp Andrews said he was enormously proud of the fire crews' hard work.

"It's a fantastic job they do," he said.

"The volunteers are giving up their family time."

"They have been working their hearts out there and that is an admirable trait."

Earlier, Rural Fire Service Queensland Inspector Tony Johnstone told media the task would be very difficult without the help of volunteer firefighters.

"The volunteers put in a lot of hours as well as staff," he said

"We've got crews who have come far and wide just to respond."

"We've got a number of staff here today supporting the volunteers. The volunteers will probably put in 12 hours to make sure the community is safe."

UPDATE 11.50am

QUEENSLAND Fire and Emergency Services  is advising all residents and visitors in the vicinity of Burrum Coast National Park to finalise their bushfire plans and heed all advice from authorities.

As a safety precaution, Burrum Coast National Park and campgrounds are self-evacuating on advice from QFES. 

At 8.20am a large bushfire was located near Coonarr Rd, Palm Beach Rd and Burrum Coast National Park.

The large fire is expected to impact the areas of Burrum Coast National Park within the next two hours.

Residents and visitors in the area are advised that if their plan is to relocate or they do not have a plan, then they are advised to relocate now. Leaving well ahead of a fire is the safest option for survival.

There are 14 fire crews working to contain the blaze but firefighters will not be able to protect every affected property and residents and visitors should not expect a firefighter at their door or campground.

Residents are advised to call 000 if their property comes under threat.

UPDATE 11.20am

Police are warning campers to "be proactive" and stay away from the fire.

Firefighters from Bundaberg, Childers, Woodgate and Goodwood are attending the scene as well as, police, ambulance staff and national parks staff.

They are not evacuating but are encouraging campers nearby to move on and the area should be avoided until Sunday, according to Rural Fire Service Queensland Inspector Tony Johnstone.

"We're still trying to find the boundary of the fire," Inspector Johnstone said. "We have half a dozen people in and around the fire edge and national parks are in there now, they know their way around."

The fire is heading in the direction of the Earth Commodities sand mine and the company had been notified by the RFS.

"They're not under threat at this time, we've got plenty of resources," Insp Johnstone said, "But being heath country, as soon as the wind picks up it goes through the heath.

"If there are any campers around, please make sure your campsite is secure and I hate to say it but you might want to go home a little earlier so you don't have to suffer the smoke later this afternoon. It will get smoky and it may be hard to breathe through the night."

The task would be very difficult without the help of volunteer firefighters, Insp Johnstone said.

"It would be really hard, we couldn't respond to all the fires we have. The volunteers put in a lot of hours as well as staff. We've got crews who have come far and wide just to respond.

"We've got a number of staff here today supporting the volunteers. The volunteers will probably put in 12 hours to make sure the community is safe."

Crews were still trying to ascertain how many people might be at risk.

"People often go off the track and go bushwalking in these areas," Insp Johnstone said, "That's why we're hesitant about putting any backburns in at the moment until we can account for where people are."

Anyone thinking of entering the area is advised to come back on Sunday and find an alternative away from the smoke.

"If we start doing a backburn it's going to be pretty smoky for a couple of days, we want to make sure the fire stays contained," Insp Johnstone said.

"We'd hate for anyone to have a spoiled New Years Day by being smoked out."

 

UPDATE 10.10am

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) is advising:

As at 9:50am, a large bushfire is burning near Coonarr Rd, Palm Beach Rd and Burrum Coast National Park.

There are eight fire crews working to contain the blaze, which broke out around 8.30am.  There is no threat to homes at this time. 

A large smoke haze is affecting the area.

Residents are advised to close windows and doors and if suffering from a respiratory condition, keep medications close by. 

Motorists should drive with caution and to conditions.

Residents are advised to call 000 if they believe their property comes under threat.

Residents should consider taking precautionary measures including: 

• Putting on protective clothing;

• Drinking lots of water;

• Moving car/s to a safe location;

• Closing windows and doors and shutting blinds;

• Bringing pets inside, restraining them (leash, cage or secure room) and providing water;

• Wetting down fine fuels close to buildings;

• Removing garden furniture, doormats and other items;

• Sealing all gaps under doors and screens;

• Filling containers with water - eg bath, sinks, buckets, wheelie bins;

• Having ladders ready for roof space access (inside) and against roof (outside);

• Having a generator or petrol powered pump ready; and

• Checking and patrolling outside for embers, extinguishing any spot fires and seeking shelter as the fire front arrives.

Regular updated information will be provided on the Rural Fire Service Queensland (RFSQ) website at www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au or listen to local radio.

For information on current bushfire incidents visit http://www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au/map.html.

Background: there are three levels of bushfire warning -

Advice: Monitor conditions and review your bushfire survival plan.

Watch and Act: Conditions are changing. Start taking action and follow your bushfire survival plan.

Emergency Warning: You are in danger. Act on your bushfire survival plan now.

EARLIER

EMERGENCY services are attending a grass fire at Coonarr.

The fire is believed to be in the vicinity of Palm Beach Rd.

Crews from various rural fire stations are responding.

More to come.

Topics:  fire, qfes, rural fire service queensland



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