13 July, 2024
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Body found amid battle to contain Queensland blazes


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A body has been found in southern Queensland as firefighters battle bushfires that have destroyed five homes.

Police say the body was discovered in the Western Downs on Tuesday following bushfires in the Tara region, west of Brisbane. 

“This is an emerging situation and investigations are ongoing,” a police statement late on Tuesday said.

A report will be prepared for the coroner.

Residents were told in emergency warnings overnight to leave their homes at Tara, Wieambilla, Kogan, Goranba and Weranga west of Brisbane, as well as Millmerran Woods.

Emergency authorities said it was not yet safe for residents in Millmerran Downs and Cypress Gardens to return, with the fire in the area still burning on Wednesday morning.

Firefighters across Queensland are on high alert with above-average temperatures and increased winds forecast as residents in the state’s south await the all-clear to return home.

More than 50 people were forced to flee their homes on Tuesday as firefighters battled the blaze amid soaring temperatures.

More than 40 firefighting crews with waterbombing aircraft were battling to contain the blaze.

The large, fast-moving fire – one of more than 40 being monitored across Queensland – was burning between Tara, Wieambilla and Kogan late on Tuesday.

Rural Fire Service Chief Superintendent Tony Johnstone said five homes had been lost in the blaze and another 10 properties were under close watch.

He said spot fires had been advancing 200 metres ahead of the bushfire due to strong winds.

Evacuation centres have been set up at Western Downs Regional Council customer centre and Millmerran showgrounds.

Mr Johnstone said fire crews would conduct line scans overnight.

“We do line scans each night so that when crews start the next day they can actually see where the fire has been,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Mark Ryan said the government had extended the contract period for firefighting aircraft with a lengthy fire season forecast.

Waterbombing aircraft have already conducted more than 6000 drops.

Extreme fire danger ratings are expected for the state’s Gulf Country, central west, northwest and Channel Country in the coming days.

The Bureau of Meteorology said a southerly change would bring cooler conditions moving through from the Channel Country in the state’s west later this week, with a chance of rain in the Western Downs by Friday.

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