UPDATE: 40 crews to battle Kilkivan blaze just kilometres from houses
UPDATE Wednesday 8.30am:
A BUSHFIRE raging in the western boundary of the Gympie region has burnt through 1600ha and is just kilometres from a number of houses, firefighters have confirmed this morning.
More than 10 crews battled the blaze overnight with 40 expected to fight in extreme conditions today to bring the fire into containment lines, Gympie Fire Station officer Justin Groth confirmed this morning.
The fire is burning about three kilometres from Thorneside Rd, where four properties are the closest to the threat in the region.
“It slowed down last night and they were able to strengthen the containment line to the west,” Mr Groth said.
“They’re working on the eastern flank – down towards Black Snake.
“(But) it’s still uncontained and burning in an inaccessible area.”
More water bombers were being called in today to slow the fire down so ground crew have a better chance at containing it, he said.
Ten firefighters from New Zealand were also joining the effort today.
Mr Groth said weather predictions for today, were a “a big worry”.
EARLIER Wednesday 7am:
THE bushfire burning in the western region of Gympie has now been classified as two fires to better keep residents informed, Queensland Fire and Rescue Service confirmed this morning.
Warnings are now current for Black Snake and Kilkivan – with “prepare to leave” alerts issued for both areas yesterday afternoon and again last night at 8pm.
Earlier in the day, alerts were only issued for the area of Black Snake.
The size of the fire is yet to be confirmed, a QFES spokeswoman said, but the scale of it is the reason two alerts for two areas are now required, she said.
Yesterday it was estimated to be moving in containment lines with about a 20km perimeter
Crews battled the fire overnight, with nine crews currently at the scene as of 7am.
An extreme combination of changing wind directions and 37C temperatures faces firefighters battling today.
Fierce winds, predicted to gust up to 30km/h and possibly reaching 50km/h, are expected to sweep in and change direction at least three times today, Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Dean Narramore said.
Yesterday, 26 fire crews were on the ground, working in extreme conditions of smoke, dust and heat.
Wind steadily whipped from the north, while the temperature rose to 35C about 3pm.
The situation was monitored from the air, with five water bombers attacking.
Today, the wind force is sending the region into “extreme fire danger”.
The north westerlies that are likely to hit this morning, are forecast to blow from the south west by late morning – dragging hot, dry air from inland Queensland, while a south easterly change is likely this evening, Mr Narramore said.
Yesterday, incident control centres were established at the Gympie Fire Station and at the Widgee Rural Fire Brigade.
The fire is currently burning in a south-westerly direction at Black Snake towards Richardson Road, Mengle Road and Mariner Road, Black Snake.
The fire is likely to impact Richardson Road, Mengle Road and Mariner Road, Black Snake.
Those residents looking to self-evacuate should travel in a south-westerly direction towards Black snake Road.
At Kilkivan, the fire is burning in the vicinity of the Des Simpson Memorial, heading in a south-westerly direction towards Thornside Road and Upper Thornside Road.
The fire is likely to impact Thornside Road and Upper Thornside Road.
Those residents looking to self-evacuate should travel along Thornside Road onto Upper Widgee Road heading towards Gympie.
The fire is currently being assessed and an update is expected soon, the spokeswoman said.