The remains of a car caught in a bushfire that swept through a property near Noosa. (Facebook: Noosa Council)
Thousands evacuate as bushfire emergency declared in parts of southern Queensland
A firefighter is a rescuer extensively trained in firefighting, primarily to extinguish hazardous fires that threaten life, property and the environment as well as to rescue people and animals from dangerous situations.
The complexity of modern, industrialized life has created an increase in the skills needed in firefighting technology. The fire service, also known in some countries as the fire brigade or fire department, is one of the three main emergency services. From urban areas to aboard ships, firefighters have become ubiquitous around the world.
The skills required for safe operations are regularly practiced during training evaluations throughout a firefighter’s career. Initial firefighting skills are normally taught through local, regional or state-approved fire academies or training courses. Depending on the requirements of a department, additional skills and certifications such as technical rescue and pre-hospital medicine may also be acquired at this time.
Firefighters work closely with other emergency response agencies such as the police and emergency medical service. A firefighter’s role may overlap with both. Fire investigators or fire marshals investigate the cause of a fire. If the fire was caused by arson or negligence, their work will overlap with law enforcement. Firefighters also frequently provide some degree of emergency medical service, in addition to working with full-time paramedics.
The basic tasks of firefighters include: fire suppression, rescue, fire prevention, basic first aid, and investigations. Firefighting is further broken down into skills which include: size-up, extinguishing, ventilation, search and rescue, salvage, containment, mop up and overhaul.
Firefighter breaks leg as blaze destroys home near Noosa
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‘It looked like Peregian all over again’: Bushfire conditions set to worsen in coming days
A firefighter has been injured and a home destroyed as a bushfire continues to cause concern at Cooroibah on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, with the fire front stretching 200 metres across and 20 metres high at its peak.
Firefighter breaks leg as blaze destroys home near Noosa
The Cooroibah blaze has been downgraded from emergency level to a watch and act alert this morning.
There are 36 fires burning across the state this morning, with about 2,500 people from 400 homes evacuated from Cooroibah, in the Noosa Shire, overnight and a firefighter aged in his 50s in hospital with a broken leg suffered while fighting the blaze.
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Conditions have eased overnight but firefighters warn any reprieve could be short-lived, with the winds expected to change again later today.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES) spokesman Kevin Reeding said one home had been destroyed at Tewantin, along with two other structures.
“Loss of life, we haven’t had any, which is fantastic news,” he said.
“We have had some firefighters with some injuries from broken legs to minor lacerations.”
Police Senior Sergeant Steve Hall said a human shield was formed around two aged care facilities in Tewantin during the fire threat overnight, protecting the almost 400 residents who could not be evacuated.
“We had police ensconced into those centres and we had fire taskforces around the centres to ensure that any fires that threatened the centres could be suppressed straight away,” he said.
Numerous buildings were destroyed as the blaze swept through the Noosa region. (Facebook: Noosa Council)
QFES Assistant Commissioner Mike Wassing said it would be a “tough day” for Central Queensland as the severe conditions shifted further north.
“We’re not out of the woods just yet,” he said.
“Having said that, in terms of the fires here in Tewantin and Noosa … all of those fires are currently not running, which is really good for us,” he said.
“We’re currently doing assessments in terms of where those fires are exactly at, and making sure those fires remains contained.
“Today is still very dry — we still have those fluky coastal winds.”
He said temperatures were expected to ease on Monday and Tuesday, before escalating again mid-week.
“Our key message to people in immediate areas of fire impact is to remain vigilant,” he said.
“Help us to ensure we don’t have new fires start and … looking after your family, look after your neighbours.”
Firefighters have been battling blazes near Tewantin and Cooroibah for several days. (Instagram: Dannew)
QFES spokesman Geoff Hunter said there was little fire activity in the area at the moment after a huge effort overnight.
“We’ve really moved in and extinguished most of the areas using the water bomber and ground crews … and we had ground crews last night patrolling and putting out any hot spots,” he said.
Four evacuation centres have been set up — at the Girraween Sports Complex, the Cooroy Library, Noosa Leisure Centre and The J Noosa.
Police Senior Sergeant Steve Hall said checks were being made before residents would be allowed to return to their homes.
“At this point we have confirmed one residential dwelling destroyed and a number of sheds mainly in the Cooroibah area. No damage in the Tewantin area at this point,” he said.
Fire Inspector Mike Miley said the focus today was on McKinnon Drive at Cooroibah.
He said crews on land and in the air were battling the blaze, with weather conditions not helping.
“Conditions are still not favourable to us, obviously the heat … but also the degree of wind, which is predicted to increase during the day,” he said.
Video: Bushfire blaze behind homes at Cooroibah.
Noosa Mayor Tony Wellington said he was aware of at least one property damaged in the blaze and a number of sheds and vehicles.
“But given the ferocity yesterday … that’s a pretty incredible outcome,” he said.
“I think when eventually the areas are opened up and people can see how close these fires came to property, they’ll be aware of what an incredible job the firefighting team did, and what a fantastic job the police are still doing to keep the community safe.”
Cooroibah resident Herb Pavey was waiting to see what happened to his home after he evacuated yesterday.
“We’re clean but we have a council reserve on the back of us and if the fire comes up through there it would really roar through, which I think it would but I may be wrong. We won’t know till we get home,” he said.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has urged evacuated residents to be patient and to stay away from the area until it is safe to return.
“We don’t want people going home yet until we’ve done the scans to make sure that we’re definitely sure that it’s safe,” she said.
“As we know, these fires can change and move quickly, it’s very dry at the moment and the winds are going to pick up this afternoon.”
‘Another windy day’
Temperatures are forecast to cool slightly today but Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecaster Dean Narramore said another windy day would make fire crews’ jobs hard.
“There’s going to be another windy day with these fresh and gusty south-westerly winds and unfortunately to complicate things we will have a south-easterly change moving up the coast later this afternoon and into this evening,” he said.
The fires cast a smoke haze across Brisbane on Saturday. (ABC News: Shelley Lloyd)
Rob and Gina Brewster were among the many people who evacuated their homes near Tewantin last night.
“We noticed smoke was closer than normal so we actually went for a drive and went down to Lake Cooroibah and had a look at it and went, ‘That’s pretty big’,” Mr Brewster said.
“We went back to the home, actually did some work, then we got a call and a text message [to leave] and thought, ‘We’d better do the right thing’ and grabbed a few things.
“Originally it looked like it was about a kilometre away and then as we drove it just got so dark.
“It was very eerie actually and as we turned right there were flames on the left.”
Rob and Gina Brewster spent the night in one of four emergency evacuation centres with their dog. (ABC News: Tara Cassidy)
Corroibah resident Ian Hurley said fires had come close to his property before but this one forced him to flee.
“I’ve been around fires but not like this … we had to get out of the house and get whatever we could and leave,” he said.
Gold Coast hinterland fire downgraded
On the Gold Coast, the warning level has been downgraded for a fire at Lower Beechmont in the hinterland this morning.
It had been at emergency level and is now a watch and act, with the fire affecting North Road, Freemans Road and Outlook Avenue and travelling in a north-easterly direction towards Hellfire Pass.
Smoke haze from bushfires at Lower Beechmont this morning. (Supplied: Annette from Lower Beechmont)
About 70 homes in the area have been evacuated by police and firefighters with about 50 people taking refuge in the Bicentennial Centre at Nerang.
QFES Inspector Neil Dover said the Lower Beechmont fire had destroyed one shed but no people had been injured or homes damaged.
“Firefighters have been fighting the fire at the edge of the properties along the roadways and at this stage have managed to protect all properties,” he said.
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“This fire has been burning for some time now. It is just that over that last day it has managed to encroach residential properties.
“We are expecting conditions that aren’t as severe as yesterday but still causing problems for our crews in the area but we will be maintaining a prominence in the area to combat any fire as it approaches residences.”
Rural Fire Service (RFS) spokesman Alan Gillespie said damage assessment teams would inspect areas around North Road at Lower Beechmont today.
“Our expectation today is that the fire will continue to burn in some inaccessible areas,” he said.
“We are having that mapped today so I have got aircraft mapping it right now.
“Once I have that intelligence back in — and we need to be driven by intelligence — we will have a plan of attack.”
BOM forecaster Sam Campbell said conditions were expected to improve on Monday but that relief could be short-lived.
“The fire dangers are looking like they will deteriorate again on the Wednesday,” he said.
“We will see another trough coming through from the west, temperatures shooting up to about 33 degrees around the coast — 35 over inland parts — and winds picking up again unfortunately.
“So some relief on the Monday but then fire dangers deteriorating as we head towards mid-next week.”