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Bushfire fears as soaring temperatures make North Stradbroke battle tougher

 
Bushfires in Australia

Bushfires rage in North Stradbroke Island Photograph: Reuters

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Bushfire fears as soaring temperatures make North Stradbroke battle tougher” was written by Helen Davidson, for theguardian.com on Friday 3rd January 2014 06.22 UTC

Temperatures in Queensland are expected to continue to soar over the weekend and firefighters fear a wind change forecast for Saturday will worsen a fire burning on North Stradbroke Island which has already jumped containment lines.

Parts of central Queensland will see temperatures reach up to 46C on Friday and Saturday. Brisbane is forecasted to reach 41C on Saturday. Four weather stations recorded the highest ever January temperatures on Thursday afternoon, reaching 48.1C in Birdsville.

About 900 campers were evacuated from North Stradbroke Island on New Year’s Day as a large fire burned through the island and threatened campsites.

The fire was “slow-moving and is burning safely within containment lines” on Friday morning but jumped containment lines in the afternoon, and people in the area have been advised to leave.

“While there is currently no threat to property, a wind change could endanger people within the immediate vicinity,” the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) advised.

“The wind change which is forecast is really the most difficult forecast for us because that will do is create a new firefront,” QFES commissioner Lee Johnson said earlier on Friday.

“The firefront will now head back towards the populated area of Dunwich and the mainland side of the island.”

Speaking in an advisory video on the QFES Facebook page, Johnson said the most important thing for people on the island is to “be aware and alert to the current situation” and to take care in their activities and report fires immediately.

Northern New South Wales will also experience temperatures in the high 30s on Saturday.

Severe fire danger warnings are in place for parts of NSW and Queensland, and there are strong wind warnings in place for the east coast, Western Australia and parts of South Australia. A total fire ban is in place on Saturday for the northern slopes and north-western districts of NSW.

The Bureau of Meteorology revealed on Friday that 2013 was the hottest year on record in Australia, and included the warmest individual days for summer and winter, the hottest day, week and month in January, and the hottest spring and summer on record.

 

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