The sun, silhouetted by smoke haze from bushfires, looms over Gladstone, Australia, on 30 November 2018. Photo: Wezley Pitt / ABC

By Robyn Wuth
30 November 2018

(Australian Associated Press) – There is no relief in sight for Queensland's bushfire crisis as extreme heatwave conditions continue to grip the state on the first day of summer.

There have been no lives lost as wildfires raged across central Queensland this week but 110 are still burning around the state.

That number could grow as heat wave spreads to the state's south east corner in coming days with possible storms with damaging winds.

Authorities have repeatedly warned of volatile conditions and on Friday, 10 women and children were airlifted to safety from the Eungella State Forest as the conditions suddenly changed and the fire flared out of control.

Temperatures are expected to build over the next four to five days, with the maximum to peak on Monday.

A local fire ban was issued for the Brisbane region until the end of Sunday.

And a fire ban for parts of southwest Queensland, including Toowoomba, the Southern and Western Downs and the Maranoa areas, was extended to the end of Tuesday.

After almost a week of severe fire danger, QFES Commissioner Katarina Carroll says that the difficult and challenging conditions will persist.

"We are not out of the woods," she said.

"We've got a heatwave still with us for the next four days. We've got thunderstorms that interfere with how the fire spreads … We have never seen this in our state before." [more]

No relief for Qld bushfire crisis


Three-day heatwave assessment for Australia, 27 November 2018. Heatwave conditions have been extreme for days in north-east Queensland. Graphic: Bureau of Meteorology

By Kate Doyle and Lucy Murray
30 November 2018

(ABC Weather) – Both the bushfires and the heatwave ravaging parts of Queensland have been described as extraordinary and abnormal.

Bureau of Meteorology Queensland manager Bruce Gunn said records had tumbled in a week of widespread and protracted heatwave conditions, combined with catastrophic fire danger.

"On Wednesday, Rockhampton Airport recorded catastrophic [fire] conditions for approximately three-and-a-half hours," Mr Gunn said.

"This was the first time this district has recorded catastrophic conditions and the most prolonged event in Queensland since the implementation of the current Fire Danger Rating System in 2010."

Fire ecologist Philip Stewart said Queensland's fires of the past few days were historically unusual.

"They're not something one would expect at this time, but then again, fires of this nature can occur anywhere, provided that there's the right climatic conditions and the right fuels and so on."

Dr Stewart said the intensity and the extent of the fires was abnormal, as was the time of year that they were occurring.

He said they were "absolutely" a result of climate change.

"Climate is a driver of wildfire and of fire full stop," Dr Stewart said.

"So when we start to see an increase in temperature, we start see an increase in energy availability in that atmosphere, and that obviously will increase the potential for high-intensity fires and fast fires as well." [more]

Queensland's 'abnormal' bushfires linked to climate change

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