Bushfires close roads, block Schoolies


The Pacific Highway remains closed between Woodburn and Woombah due to the Myall Creek Road bushfire in the Richmond Valley and Summerland Way also remains closed between Casino and Grafton.

Emergency services are asking to please delay all non-essential travel in the area.

“If you need to travel between Grafton and Ballina, motorists are being asked to use the Gwydir Highway, the New England Highway and the Bruxner Highway instead,” police said in a statement.

Footage of the Myall Creek fire.Source:News Regional Media

This alternative will add about 3.5 hours extra to the trip, and is not suitable for B-doubles.

Thousands of teenagers are expected to make their way to Byron Bay and the Gold Coast today for Schoolies celebrations.

“These main roads could be closed for some time, and other routes could also be closed at short notice due to bushfire conditions,” police advised.

A scene from the fire burning at Myall Creek Road in Bora Ridge earlier this week.

A scene from the fire burning at Myall Creek Road in Bora Ridge earlier this week.Source:Supplied

Almost 60 fires were still burning across Queensland and 50 in NSW yesterday but no property was currently under imminent threat.

Of the 20 homes lost in Queensland so far, most were destroyed in the Cobraball fire.

That blaze, in central Queensland, has burnt through more than 12,000 hectares of land, including 230 hectares of various crops including pineapple, mango and lychee.

Queensland firefighters made the most of two days of comparatively good conditions, working on containment lines around the most significant fires.

Authorities continue to work on a massive fire still burning on the Darling Downs.

That blaze, taking in the Pechey, Ravensbourne, Esk and Crows Nest areas, is burning on a 100km front.

It’s smouldering on both sides of Esk Hampton Road between Horrex and Brennan roads, with small areas of fire continuing to actively burn.

Council officers are assessing trees and cleaning up around roads and structures to safely reopen roads in the coming days.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services at the Pechey bushfire.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services at the Pechey bushfire.Source:News Corp Australia

Further south in Victoria, firefighters are hoping mild weekend conditions will help them control blazes caused by lightning in remote patches of forest in the state’s northeast.

About 30 fires were still burning in Victoria on Friday afternoon, 20 of them located in hard-to-reach forested areas of the state’s northeast.

Forest Fire Management Victoria said aircraft including big air tankers from Canberra and Sydney are being used to fight the forest blazes.

“The aim is to get on top of them with the milder conditions,” the authority’s Hume deputy chief fire officer Aaron Kennedy said.

More than 50 firefighting trucks, dozers and other heavy plant were also set to work yesterday to build containment lines and deal with dangerous trees.

But the remoteness of the fires isn’t making their job easy.

“There is a lot of work to do in very difficult conditions,” Mr Kennedy said.

More than 150 blazes burned across Victoria on Thursday, when record-breaking temperatures and strong winds lashed the state.

The CFA believes lightning or campfires started many of them.

Melbourne broke a 100-year-old temperature record for November on Thursday, with the mercury hitting 40.9C and creeping well into the 40s in the Mallee region and northern country towns.

Temperatures cooled on Friday, with emergency services now turning their attention to Monday when the temperature and fire risk are set to rise again, a CFA spokesman told AAP.

On Monday temperatures are expected to reach the high 30s in the state’s north — the driest part of the state — and 32C in central Melbourne.

New South Wales also had its fair share of wild weather earlier this week,

Yesterday, Sydney’s CBD was plunged into “apocalyptic” darkness midafternoon and lightning strikes lit up U2’s concert in the city on a day of remarkable weather conditions in the NSW capital.

The city was eerily dark by 5pm yesterday ahead of the thunderstorms as storm clouds mixed with the lingering smoke from NSW bushfires that had settled across the city, including from one blaze at nearby Gospers Mountain.

Eerie weather hit Sydney yesterday. Picture: Monique Harmer

Eerie weather hit Sydney yesterday. Picture: Monique HarmerSource:News Corp Australia

Thousands of homes on Sydney’s lower north shore lost power as thunderstorms affected the region’s electricity grid yesterday.

The Bureau of Meteorology said the thunderstorms began brewing in the Blue Mountains yesterday afternoon, as moisture from the north met with triggers such as converging winds.

With AAP





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