Residents in the path of a monster fire burning in state forest north of Toowoomba in Queensland have been urged to flee as the blaze closes in on the town of Crows Nest. The massive fire in the Pechey state forest has tripled in size forcing schools and businesses to close as firefighters struggle to contain the blaze. Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio said the fire threat was at emergency level. A “leave immediately” has been issued as the fire approaches the southeastern side of Crows Nest.
Residents in the vicinity of Tin Mine Road, Three Mile Road (toowoomba escorts), Orchard Road, Pinnell Road, Grapetree Road and Perseverance Dam Road have been warned to evacuate. “Conditions are now very dangerous and firefighters may soon be unable to prevent the fire advancing,” authorities warn. The state’s bushfire crisis is now in its second week, with 80 fires burning across the state. Wild storms and strong winds created challenging conditions for crews on Sunday but there was no loss of property overnight. Parts of South Australia are also bracing for a day of potentially catastrophic fire conditions later this week, with the temperature in Adelaide expected to reach 42C on Wednesday, prompting total fire bans.
The damage bill from Queensland’s bushfire crisis continues to mount, with water supply restricted to a major inland city after a blaze damaged the water supply network. The fire in the Pechey state forest has damaged water supply to the city and a dozen surrounding smaller communities. The damage to the water network meant residents were restricted to domestic water use only as the council worked to repair the network damage.
Fires burnt the powerlines connected to the city’s water network, including the Cressbrook Dam pump station, stopping water pumping from the region’s largest source of water. The network supplies water to surrounding towns. Antonio said the council had asked residents to limit water consumption. “This means no outdoor water use in the garden or washing cars or outdoor surfaces. It will be necessary to limit water consumption for indoor human use and water for pets,” Antonio said. “Water supply will be maintained wherever possible to help with firefighting work.” Meanwhile, insurers have declared a catastrophe after storms brought hail that pummelled southeast Queensland on Sunday, causing about $40m in damage.