Bushfires at Deepwater have razed building and destroyed property. Picture: Chris Clarke
Bushfires at Deepwater have razed building and destroyed property. Picture: Chris Clarke

Photos reveal devastation of bushfires

FIRE conditions are set to intensify around the communities of Deepwater, Baffle Creek, Rules Beach and Oyster Creek, as fire fighters from around Queensland and interstate arrive to help battle the blaze.

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services released a statement at 7.20am reiterating that residents in the area should be following their bushfire survival plans.

"The progress of the fire has slowed overnight but is expected to intensify throughout the day and will travel in a south-west direction," the statement said.

 

Baffle Creek is now in the firing line of the devastating bushfire.
Baffle Creek is now in the firing line of the devastating bushfire.

 

A QFES spokesman said that forty crews were on the ground in Deepwater and a nearby separate fire-front at Round Hill.

He said residents in areas covered by the "watch and act" bushfire alert should heed the advice of authorities, since conditions were expected to deteriorate throughout today.

"It is still moving toward these communities and it is currently impacting the Deepwater community," the spokesman said.

 

A burnt out dwelling at Deepwater. Picture: Chris Clarke
A burnt out dwelling at Deepwater. Picture: Chris Clarke

 

The Bureau of Meteorology forecasted that fire weather conditions around Agnes Waters and Deepwater would ease slightly today, with northerly winds of 20-30kmh bringing some much needed moisture into the atmosphere. The current forecasted high for the area is 30C.

"Less of a dry westerly wind like we had yesterday and more of a sea breeze," a Bureau spokesman said.

The spokesman warned that tomorrow would bring hotter conditions to the firezone (34-35C), alongside dry westerly winds which would make firefighting difficult.

"It's going to be a pretty volatile day in terms of fire weather conditions," the spokesman said.

A Firebird helicopter, capable of dousing bushfires from the skiess was believed to be en route to the area, which was yesterday evening declared a disaster zone.

Two homes have been confirmed as destroyed by emergency services, although some media outlets were this morning claiming as many as four may have been razed by the fire.

EARLIER Queensland Fire and Emergency Services has told residents in the townships of Deepwater, Baffle Creek, Rules Beach and Oyster Creek in central Queensland to leave now as a dangerous bushfire again threatens the region.

The latest QFES advice says the fire is currently travelling in a south, south-west direction from Capricornia Drive and Pacific Drive at Deepwater towards Baffle Creek, Rules Beach and Oyster Creek.

"This fire is impacting the Deepwater community now and is expected to start to impact Baffle Creek, Rules Beach and Oyster Creek within the next four hours," the latest advice says.

"The fire could have a significant impact on all communities.

"All Deepwater, Baffle Creek, Rules Beach and Oyster Creek residents should evacuate in a westerly direction towards Miriam Vale using Tableland Road and Fingerboard Road. The evacuation centre is the Miriam Vale Community Centre at 41 Blomfield Street."

The Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford on Monday afternoon signed the disaster declaration for the Gladstone local government region, including the areas of Baffle Creek Catchment, Wartburg, Deepwater, Agnes Water, Round Hill, Miriam Vale and Bororen.

"These areas are under severe threat of fire or have already been hit by fire and the disaster declaration will ensure that the necessary agencies, including fire and emergency services and police have the powers they need to respond effectively," he said.

"This includes giving police the power to forcibly remove residents and to stop them returning to their homes until it is completely safe."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was this afternoon briefed, and said Baffle Creek, Rules Beach and Deepwater were areas of concern, as the fire moved southward.

"If you live in these areas you must listen to the authorities and you must leave," she said.

"If you have left, do not return.

"There may be some people that want to go back, this intensity of this fire and the smoke conditions coming from this fire make it a health risk as well as a human safety risk.

"Queensland is going through and unprecedented heatwave at the moment.

"We've got temperatures in our state between 6 and 10 degrees higher than we've ever seen before at this time of year.

 

Aerial view of the central Queensland fire front. Picture: Queensland Fire and Emergency Services `
Aerial view of the central Queensland fire front. Picture: Queensland Fire and Emergency Services `

 

"We have more than 70 now wildfires throughout our state.

"All of our crews are doing everything they possibly can.

"We've got reinforcements coming from New South Wales.

"One hundred extra firefighters will be on the front line tomorrow. They've already sent the Coulson 737, the water bombing plane.

"I will also be contacting (Premier) Daniel Andrews to see if Victoria can reinforcements as well."

QFES Commissioner Katarina Carroll said the fire perimeter had extended to 66km.

"For those that have moved out, we do not expect that they will be going back to their houses in the next few days," she said.

On the ground in Deepwater there are 45 trucks on the ground, as well as seven aircraft assisting from above, she said.

Deepwater residents can now register for 'Register.Find.Reunite' a service by Red Cross Australia.

"If you've been affected, register now to let your friends and family know you're OK - or inquire to see if your loved ones are safe and sound," police said.

"To register or to find someone click on the link and follow the instructions online.

"A hotline is also available on: 1800 442 182"

Photographer John Wilson flew over Deepwater overnight and there were spot fires from Baffle Creek to Agnes Water, with some threatening properties in the area.

"All the way down the coast there was spot fires, as far as you could see," he said. And (there was) quite heavy smoke… it looked fairly ominous."

"It must have been quite eerie (on the ground). We flew out over the water and it was clear… and (looking inland) it was like a big curtain of billowing smoke right along the coast."

 

Firefighters head down Pacific Drive in Deepwater on Monday. Picture: Paul Beutel/AAP
Firefighters head down Pacific Drive in Deepwater on Monday. Picture: Paul Beutel/AAP

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