WHAT WE KNOW

  • At least seven homes have been destroyed
  • Ergon says majority of power restored to Stanthorpe
  • New England Hwy reopened at Stanthorpe, but could close at short notice
  • A large bushfire is now burning within containment lines
  • Nine schools will be closed on Monday

SUNDAY, 3.25PM

THE Applethorpe and Stanthorpe Bushfire is burning within contaiment lines.

Firefighters continue to strengthen containment lines with efforts focused on Ellwood Road, Kelly Road, Allen Lane and into the Broadwater State Forest.
 
Crews will also be undertaking backburning operations throughout the day. Local residents may see an increase in smoke as a result.
 
Crews continue to conduct ongoing patrols to the west of the New England Highway, including at Plant Lane, McGrath Lane, Caves Road, Amiens Road and in the general areas around Happy Valley and Stanthorpe. 
 
The safety of residents and firefighters remains a priority. As a result an exclusion zone remains in place and is bounded by the following areas:

• Ellwood Road, Kelly Road and Allen Lane in the north
• The New England Highway in the east, with the exception of Spiller Lane, Roessler Avenue, Ann Street and Sofia Lane
• Amiens Road and McGrath Lane in the south 
• Plant Lane in the west
 
All other residents are now able to return home.

The bushfire warning level is 'stay informed'. 
 

SUNDAY, 1.45PM

TEN schools will be closed across Queensland, including several in the Southern Downs and Granite Belt, in light of the bushfires raging through the region.

Education Queensland announcced the full list of schools that will be forced to shut tomorrow.

"The decision to close schools is never taken lightly, but our number one priority remains the safety of students, staff and their families," Education Minister Grace Grace said.

"We will continue to liaise with emergency services personnel as the situation progresses, and we will close further schools, if necessary, for the safety of our communities."

Schools: Amiens State School, Applethorpe State School, Beechmont State School, Dalveen State School, Pozieres State School, Stanthorpe State High School, Stanthorpe State School, The Summit State School, Thulimbah State School, St Joseph's Catholic Primary School

SUNDAY, 11.55AM

EMERGENCY services say southern Queensland's bushfire season has come earlier than in any year on record, as dozens of fires keep burning across the regions.

Acting Premier Jackie Trad and the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service addressed the media this morning about the current situation, reaffirming that while no emergencies were in place, residents needed to remain vigilant.

Nearly 60 fires are still burning across the state, including in the Granite Belt and Southern Downs.

The Stanthorpe/Applethorpe fire is burning within containment lines but residents may see smoke from these areas.

The fire at Applethorpe is still being classified as a "watch and act" incident, though conditions are apparently easing slightly.

QFES Deputy Commissioner Mike Wassing said fire crews still had plenty of work to do at Applethorpe and in Stanthorpe.

"We're confident in the work we've done there already, and the work through today and into this evening will see no further impact for the local communities in that area," he said.

"The challenges for us will extend through to Wednesday while we have those dry westerly air masses."

The QFES said it had not seen bushfire risk indices at this level so early into September, which it said was a warning of the coming months.

Ms Trad advised that some schools would be closed tomorrow, with parents needing to follow the Education Queensland website for full details.

"There will be a number of schools in the local areas that will need to close tomorrow - further confirmation will be provided by the Department of Education," she said.

- Tom Gillespie

 

SUNDAY, 9.15AM

Residents are being advised to prepare to leave as a watch and act warning is in place for the dangerous bushfire travelling towards Applethorpe. 

The fire continues to burn in a north, north-easterly direction towards Applethorpe and is expected to impact properties on Ellwood Road, Kelly Road and Allen Lane.

The fire could have a significant impact on the community.

Fire crews remain on scene working towards containing the fire, with efforts focused along Ellwood Road, Kelly Road, Allen Lane and into the Broadwater State Forest.

Crews will be undertaking backburning operations throughout the day to strengthen containment lines. Local residents may see an increase in smoke due to this.

Crews continue to conduct ongoing patrols to the west of the New England Highway, including at Plant Lane, McGrath Lane, Caves Road, Amiens Road and in the general areas around Happy Valley and Stanthorpe.

Residents leaving the area should use the New England Highway and are free to do so in a northerly or southerly direction.

The New England Highway is currently open but may be closed at short notice.

People in the area will be affected by smoke, which will reduce visibility and air quality.

Evacuation centres remain open at the YMCA Leslie Dam Active Recreation Centre at 578 Leslie Dam Road and the Stanthorpe Fitness Centre on Talc Street.

Residents should be area that some power supply issues may still affect the area.

SUNDAY, 7.30AM

A bushfire threatening Applethorpe is expected to impact properties on Ellwood Road, Kelly Road and Allen Lane, 

At 7am this morning, a dangerous fire continues to travel in a north, north easterly direction towards Applethorpe.

Fire crews say the fire could have a significant impact on the community.

Crews remain on scene working towards containing the fire, with efforts focused along Ellwood Road, Kelly Road, Allen Lane and into the Broadwater State Forest.

Crews continue to conduct ongoing patrols to the west of the New England Highway, including at Plant Lane, McGrath Lane, Caves Road, Amiens Road and in the general areas around Happy Valley and Stanthorpe.

Residents leaving the area should use the New England Highway and are free to do so in a northerly or southerly direction. The New England Highway is currently open but may be closed at short notice.

The Massie Rural Fire Service shared these photos of their effots fighting the Stanthorpe Fire on Saturday September 7.
The Massie Rural Fire Service shared these photos of their effots fighting the Stanthorpe Fire on Saturday September 7. Massie Rural Fire Service

SUNDAY 6AM

Fire crews remain on scene working towards containing the fire, with efforts focused along Ellwood Road, Kelly Road, Allen Lane and into the Broadwater State Forest.

There will be ongoing patrols along the New England Highway, Plant Lane, McGrath Lane, Caves Road and in the general areas around Happy Valley.

Residents are now encouraged to leave in a northerly or southerly direction along the New England Highway. The New England Highway is currently open but may be closed at short notice.

At 4.30am, the fire is travelling in a north, north easterly direction towards Applethorpe. It is expected to impact properties on Ellwood Road, Kelly Road and Allen Lane, Applethorpe.

SATURDAY, 10.45PM: AT 10.10PM, a dangerous fire in the Stanthorpe region was travelling in a north, north easterly direction towards Applethorpe.

It is expected to impact properties on Elwood Road, Kelly Road and Allen Lane, Applethorpe. The fire could have a significant impact on the community.

Fire crews remain on scene working towards containing the fire, with efforts focused along Ellwood Road, Kelly Road, Allen Lane and into the Broadwater State Forest.

Residents should leave in a northerly or southerly direction along the New England Highway. The New England Highway is currently open but may be closed at short notice.

Firefighters may not be able to protect every property. You should not expect a firefighter at your door. Power, water, and mobile phone service may be lost.

People in the area will be affected by smoke, which will reduce visibility and air quality.

Evacuation centres remain open at the YMCA Leslie Dam Active Recreation Centre at 578 Leslie Dam Road and the Stanthorpe Fitness Centre on Talc Street.

SATURDAY 750PM:

AT 7.45PM, a dangerous fire in the Stanthorpe region continues to travel in a north, north-easterly direction towards Applethorpe. It is expected to impact properties south of Matthews Lane and Arico Lane, Applethorpe.

QFES continues to repeat that the fire could have a significant impact on the community.

Residents should leave to the north along the New England Highway, towards Warwick. The New England Highway is currently open but may be closed at short notice.

Fire crews are working to contain the fire but firefighters may not be able to protect every property. You should not expect a firefighter at your door. Power, water, and mobile phone service may be lost. Fire crews will remain on scene throughout the night and will patrol containment lines and conduct backburning operations.

People in the area will be affected by smoke, which will reduce visibility and air quality.

SATURDAY, 6PM: Applethorpe residents have been urged again to prepare to leave as a bushfire threatens their homes.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services advises there is a bushfire in Applethorpe and conditions are getting worse.

Follow your bushfire survival plan now. If you do not have a plan, your safest option is to leave now if it is clear to do so. If you are not in the area, do not return, as conditions are too dangerous.

Currently as at 5.45pm Saturday 7 September, a dangerous fire is travelling in a north, north easterly direction towards Applethorpe. It is expected to impact properties south of Matthews Lane and Arico Lane, Applethorpe. The fire could have a significant impact on the community.

Residents should leave in a northerly direction along the New England Highway, towards Warwick. The New England Highway is currently open but may be closed at short notice.

Fire crews are working to contain the fire but firefighters may not be able to protect every property. You should not expect a firefighter at your door. Power, water, and mobile phone service may be lost.
Fire crews will remain on scene throughout the night and will patrol containment lines and conduct backburning operations.

People in the area will be affected by smoke, which will reduce visibility and air quality.

An evacuation centre remains open at the YMCA Leslie Dam Active Recreation Centre at 578 Leslie Dam Road.

A Muslim charity has today donated almost 200,000 litres of water to fire-ravished residents in Stanthorpe.

The Granite Belt Drought Assist group will distribute the water to those who need it, based on a set of criteria.

A spokeswoman for the organisation said the best thing those who might require it could do was to check their Facebook page, available at https://www.facebook.com/granitebeltdrought/.

SATURDAY, 4.45PM: QUEENSLAND Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the bushfire currently threatening Applethorpe was the most concerning fire currently burning in the state.

Speaking in Brisbane this afternoon the Premier said there were currently 17 homes across the state that had been destroyed by fire in the last 24 hours and there were currently 69 active fires.

She said 100 homes were currently without power in the Southern Downs.

"(The emergency services) number one concern is around Applethorpe," she said.

Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said those concerns were expected to remain well into the evening.

"There is still a couple of days for this to run yet," Mr Crawford said.

"I want to thank communities for how they have responded to advice and alerts."

SATURDAY, 3.10PM: The bushfire threatening Stanthorpe and surrounding areas is not expected to be brought under control until Monday at the earliest. 

Queensland of Fire and Emergency Services Assistant Commissioner Megan Stiffler said the fire that began near Stanthorpe yesterday and is currently threatening Stanthorpe was unprecedented.

"Right as that wind change hit our town last night it was unprecedented," Commissioner Stiffler told a community meeting in Stanthorpe this afternoon.

"When that wind change came in we had gusts up to 80km/hr on a live fire.

"In instances like that fire services understand the fire is catastrophic. There is nothing we can do to stop a fire like that. QFES' primary purpose is the preservation of life."

Commissioner Stiffler said the community had responded to all instructions from QFES.

"That saved lives," she said.

She said QFES would not have the fire under control before Monday at the earliest.

"We have a lot of work to do to secure this fire," she said.

Water tankers on the New England Highway at Applethorpe. Stanthorpe Fire 2019.
Water tankers on the New England Highway at Applethorpe. Stanthorpe Fire 2019. Bianca Hrovat

SATURDAY, 2.40PM: There continues to be a major bushfire in Applethorpe and conditions are getting worse.

QFES have advised that residents should follow their bushfire survival plan now. "If you do not have a plan, your safest option is to leave now if it is clear to do so. If you are not in the area, do not return, as conditions are too dangerous."

At 2.30pm, a dangerous fire is travelling in a north, north easterly direction towards Applethorpe. It is expected to impact properties south of Matthews Lane and Arico Lane, Applethorpe within the next two hours. The fire could have a significant impact on the community.

Residents should leave in a northerly direction along the New England Highway, towards Warwick. The New England Highway is currently open but may be closed at short notice.

Fire crews are working to contain the fire but firefighters may not be able to protect every property. You should not expect a firefighter at your door. Power, water, and mobile phone service may be lost.

People in the area will be affected by smoke, which will reduce visibility and air quality.

Fire damage from Stanthorpe. Courtesy of 7 News.
Fire damage from Stanthorpe. Courtesy of 7 News. 7 News

SATURDAY, 2.30PM: The New England Highway has been closed in both directions between Old Warwick Rd and Elwood Rd due to the fire.

There are no diversions. It is unknown when the road will reopen to motorists.

The fire is currently moving in a northeast direction near Applethorpe.

The Southern Downs Regional Council has advised residents a large airline tanker will fly over Stanthorpe and drop a large load of water. 

"Please be advised that this will generate a lot of noise, however, it is a planned occurrence," the council said.

"Please do not be alarmed."

The fire as seen by Glenda Riley.
The fire as seen by Glenda Riley. Glenda Riley

SATURDAY, 1.45PM: Federal Emergency Management MP and Maranoa MP David Littleproud says conditions could get worse about 3pm.

The fire is continuing to burn near Applethorpe and The Summit.

"3pm is the next trigger point, with heavier winds and it being a bit warmer," he said.

"Everyone's still a bit nervous about that."

Mr Littleproud said the Queensland Government had requested the use of the Kokoda Barracks near the Gold Coast to house 60 New South Wales firefighters who are helping to battle the Stanthorpe blaze and one in the Gold Coast Hinterland.

Supplied Editorial Stanthorpe bushfire
Supplied Editorial Stanthorpe bushfire

"That may go up to 116," he said.

"We expect some disaster funding applications to be made very soon as well.

"The Prime Minister is keeping abreast of what is happening. He has rung me a couple of times to make sure everything is order."

Mr Littleproud, who represents the Stanthorpe region in Federal Parliament, said

"It's quite distressing to be candid," he said.

Rogers and Bonner family at the summit
Rogers and Bonner family at the summit Bianca Hrovat

"We're staying out of the way to let QFES do their job. I have so much respect for these guys risking their lives for us, to keep us safe."

Mr Littleproud said reports of people opening their doors for those who had to evacuate was a true representation of the "spirit of Stanthorpe".

"That's what makes it a special place and always will," he said.

"While this is a dark time we will come out of this stronger and bigger for it."

SATURDAY, 1.20PM: QFES says residents in The Summit and Applethorpe, near Stanthorpe, should prepare to leave.

Residents living south of Arico Lane and Matthews Lane (west of the New England Highway) cannot return as the fire is still active in the area between Arico Lane and Matthews Lane in the north, and Plant Lane in the south. It remains unsafe.

Thulimbah, Cottonvale and Dalveen residents can return to their homes, as well as residents to the east of the New England Highway.

The New England Highway is currently open but may be closed at short notice.

SATURDAY, 1PM: The Queensland Police Service has urged motorists to avoid the Stanthorpe and Applethorpe areas.

"Motorists please avoid the townships," police said. 

"With the New England Hwy reopening some motorists are taking the opportunity to visits these townships however now is not the time as emergency services continue to fight these fires.

"Driving conditions can be dangerous due to hazards such as burnt out trees over road ways , fallen power lines, smoke and dust. Please remain vigilant.

"Fires by their very nature are unpredictable and motorists travelling through active bushfire areas could easily find themselves in quickly changing and dangerous situations.

"Please limit all non-essential travel and re-think your need to be on the roads."

SATURDAY, 12.30AM: Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Jess Gardner says winds would remain relatively strong around Stanthorpe today.

"The westerly front moved through on Friday night and the winds behind it will still be quite strong for the next few days," she said.

"It's also going to remain fairly dry, but conditions will be cooler than they have been.

"The fire danger are not as bad as they have been, because of the cooler change, but the wind means fire conditions are still quite serious. We've got very high dangers for the Darling Downs for the next four days."

Gardner said the very high fire danger was forecast to ease from Tuesday. 

A Department of Education spokesman said all schools in the area including Applethorpe State School are fine at this time.

A Darling Downs Health spokesman said the service had treated 18 people, mainly for minor respiratory symptoms.

Thomas Day captured this image of the Stanthorpe fire.
Thomas Day captured this image of the Stanthorpe fire. Contributed

SATURDAY, 11.30AM: QFES says conditions could get worse for a fire burning at Stanthorpe, Applethorpe and The Summit.

Residents living south of Arico Lane and Matthews Lane (west of the New England Highway) cannot return as the fire is still active in the area between Arico Lane and Matthews Lane in the north, and Plant Lane in the south. It remains unsafe.

Thulimbah, Cottonvale and Dalveen residents can return to their homes, as well as residents to the east of the New England Highway.

The New England Highway is currently open but may be closed at short notice.

You need to be ready to follow your bushfire survival plan. If you do not have a plan, or intend to leave, you should be ready to leave the area because the situation could get worse quickly.

Firefighters, assisted by heavy machinery and aircraft, are working to contain the fire but may not be able to protect every property. You should not expect a firefighter at your door.

A Community Meeting will be held at the Stanthorpe Civic Centre from 1.30pm.

Assistant Commissioner of Queensland of Fire and Emergency Services Megan Stiffler will be in attendance.

The meeting will be chaired by Mayor Tracy Dobie.

SATURDAY, 10.30AM: Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says seven homes have been destroyed by fire in Stanthorpe.

"The main fire area (in the state at the moment) is around Applethorpe," the Premier said.

"It's very important the people of Applethorpe listen to messages from the emergency services.

"We're not out of this yet."

The Premier said she had been briefed that there was adequate water in the Stanthorpe and Applethorpe areas to fight the fire.

"Please listen to the warning today," she said.

Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said the next few days would be testing for emergency services, as fire conditions aren't expected to ease until Tuesday or Wednesday.

"If you receive a message to leave or prepare to leave we ask you follow that without question," Mr Crawford said.

"If you are an employer of a rural fire fighter, please let them (leave work) so they can help Queenslanders."

Queensland's disaster coordinator confirmed there had so far been no deaths or serious injuries because of the fire and no one had yet been reported missing. 

Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said inspections were still being carried out in those areas to make sure that was the case. 

SATURDAY, 8.35AM: Ergon Energy says power has been restored to most of Stanthorpe.

"There are still some customers in the area without power as our crews work to repair damage to our poles and wires," an Ergon spokesman said.

"There may be some outages in the Applethorpe area in response to the fire situation there to ensure public safety."

SATURDAY, 8AM: Southern Downs Regional Council Mayor Tracy Dobey said Queensland Fire and Emergency Services were undertaking assessment of the damage left by the Stanthorpe fire this morning.

"We had 190 people evacuated to the Warwick Evacuation Centre last night and 130 into the evacuation centre in Stanthorpe," Cr Dobey said.

"Those residents are now able to go home, except for residents who have come from properties in the Applethorpe area north of Stanthorpe and west of the New England Highway.

"Those roads have not been cleared by police."

Cr Dobey said while winds were calm now, they were expected to increase this afternoon.

"QFES will start to take addition action today to continue to fight the fire," she said.

"A base camp has been set up at the Showgrounds in Warwick for fire crews and people who have animals they want to evacuate should bring the animals into the Stanthorpe Showgrounds of Warwick Showgrounds."

Cr Dobey said if anyone had any concerns about their personal situation or were worried about families and friends should phone 1300 MY SDRC.

"We encourage residents that if they have no reason to leave home today to stay at home," she said.

"At the moment the power still has not been reconnected in Stanthorpe. Ergon is working to get power back on in Stanthorpe."

While Cr Dobey said some buildings had been destroyed, it was too early to comment on specifics as QFES was still doing its assessment.

She said the New England Highway had reopened at Stanthorpe.

SATURDAY, 7.45AM: Currently as at 7.20am Saturday 7 September, a bushfire is burning in between Arico Lane and Matthews Lane in the north, and Plant Lane in the south, west of the New England Highway. The fire is still active in the area.

Fire crews are working to contain the fire but firefighters may not be able to protect every property. You should not expect a firefighter at your door.

People in the area will be affected by smoke, which will reduce visibility and air quality.

Residents to the west of the New England Highway between Arico Lane and Matthews Lane in the north, and Plant Lane in the south, cannot return as the fire is still burning within the area and remains unsafe. 

The New England Highway has now been reopened.

Residents to the east of the New England Highway and The Summit, Thulimbah, Cottonvale and Dalveen can return home. 

Residents living south of Arico Lane and Matthews Lane (just off the New England Highway) cannot return as the fire is still active in the area between Arico Lane and Matthews Lane in the north, and Plant Lane in the south. It remains unsafe.

An evacuation centre has been established in Warwick at the YMCA Leslie Dam Active Recreation Centre at 578 Leslie Dam Road.

An evacuation centre remains open at the Stanthorpe Fitness Centre.

Kristine Kotzas captured vision of the bushfire burning at Stanthorpe from Mt Marlay.
Kristine Kotzas captured vision of the bushfire burning at Stanthorpe from Mt Marlay. Kristine Kotzas

SATURDAY, 7.15AM: Southern Downs MP James Lister said the fire was tough on the local community and businesses.

"The fire is progressing up to Cottonvale and Dalveen, that's a concern," he said.

"The fact the power is out for all of Stanthorpe makes all the efforts just that little bit more difficult."

Mr Lister said the fire was another blow to the community, which had already been ravaged by drought and running out of water.

"I haven't been advised that there has been a shortage for firefighting purposes, but I'll be watching that closely," he said.

UPDATE 6.30AM: RESIDENTS in the Stanthorpe and Applethorpe areas evacuated to Warwick overnight are horrified at how the situation escalated.

One mum said her family felt "like refugees".

Southern Downs mother Emmy Jayne said she was woken by her phone at 1am Saturday and had to rush to grab her valuables before packing into a car and heading up the New England Highway to the YMCA evacuation centre.

"As soon as we left we could see flames coming," Ms Jayne said.

"I think me and the boys cried all the way to Warwick.

"What we thought was a small grass fire just sky rocketed into what we can liken to the pits of hell.

The fire continues to burn in a northerly direction up the New England Highway.

The speed of the fire has slowed but it still presents an immediate, life threatening danger to anyone who comes into contact with it. 

Ergon Energy has reported several stations down, including the New England Highway, Thulimbah, Ruby St and Railway St in Stanthorpe. 

Work on these areas is delayed due to the fire and it is unknown when crews will be able to return.

Residents at Amiens were urged to leave after the fire broke out.
Residents at Amiens were urged to leave after the fire broke out. Matthew Purcell

UPDATE 5.45am:

At 5.45am Saturday, the large fire in the area has slowed but continues to travel north along the New England Highway from Applethorpe towards Dalveen. It is expected to impact the communities of The Summit, Thulimbah, Cottonvale and Dalveen this morning.

The fire is expected to have a significant and life-threatening impact on communities between Dalveen and Applethorpe.

More than 5000 people remain without power in the region.erg

UPDATE 3:15am: Residents at Applethorpe, The Summit, Thulimbah, Cottonvale and Dalveen are advised to leave now as a bushfire continues to travel north along the New England Highway. 

QFES has advised leaving immediately is the safest option, as it will soon be too dangerous to drive 

Now is the time to enact your bushfire plan. If you do now have a plan, QFES advises the safest option is to leave immediately if it is clear to do so. 

If you can not leave, identify where you will seek shelter from the bushfire. If you are not in the area, do not return as conditions are too dangerous. 

At 3.15am this morning, the large fire in the area had slowed but continued to travel in a northerly directlon and is expected to impact communities of The Summit, Thulimbah, Cottonvale and Dalveen this morning. 

The fire is expected to have a significant and life-threatening impact on communities between Dalveen and Applethorpe, it may pose a threat to all lives directly in its path. 

QFES has advised residents to travel north along the New England Highway towards Warwick where an evacuation centre has been established at YMCA Leslie Dam at 578 Leslie Dam Rd. 

Phone 000 immediately if you believe you are under threat. 

What you should do:

  • Put on protective clothing, such as a long sleeved cotton shirt and boots with thick soles
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
  • Secure your pets for transport
  • Check for road closures and advise family and friends of your intended travel route
  • Take important documents and essential items with you 
  • Drive with caution as visibility conditions are poor
STANTHORPE FIRE: Eyewitness was shocked by scale of blaze.
STANTHORPE FIRE: Eyewitness was shocked by scale of blaze. Trish Cuthbert

UPDATE 12.45PM: THE fire is travelling north along the New England Highway and is now approaching The Summit, Thulimbah, Cottonvale and Dalveen.

Lives and properties in these areas are predicted to be severely impacted by the fire in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The safest option is for residents in these areas to leave immediately as it will soon be too dangerous too drive.

QFES advises those affected to travel north to the YMCA at Leslie Dam where an evacuation centre has been established.

What you should do:

  • Put on protective clothing, such as a long sleeved cotton shirt and boots with thick soles
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
  • Secure your pets for transport
  • Check for road closures and advise family and friends of your intended travel route
  • Take important documents and essential items with you 
  • Drive with caution as visibility conditions are poor

UPDATE 11.45PM: DANGEROUS conditions continue in Stanthorpe where the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services advise residents to seek shelter immediately.

Those who were unable to leave earlier must now remain inside as road conditions have become too dangerous to allow for safe travel. 

Residents who have successfully evacuated are not advised to return at this time.

The large fire is currently moving through the New England Highway and Glenlyon Rd, travelling east towards Nelson Cr, Mcleod Ct and Michelle Rd.

As the fire approaches QFES warns the air will become thick and difficult to breathe. It will be incredibly hot, dark and loud.

The evacuation centre at Talc Rd in Stanthorpe remains open but according to QFES, driving there is now extremely dangerous.

UPDATE 10.45PM: IT is time for Applethorpe residents to evacuate immediately.

According to Queensland Fire and Emergency Services leaving is the safest option as the large, uncontrolled fire moves swiftly into the area.

This must be done before the fire makes road conditions too dangerous to travel. 

Residents who are unable to leave must now identify where they will seek shelter from the fire as it approaches.

As of 10.40pm the fire continues to move in a north-easterly direction alongside the New England Highway towards Applethorpe. It is currently impacting Caves Rd and Sims Ln.

Pugh Ln, Old Caves Rd, Spiller Ln and Roessler Ave are expected to be hit next.

QFES advises it is now unsafe to travel south to the evacuation centre at Talc St in Stanthorpe.

Please evacuate to Warwick where a new evacuation centre has been established at the YMCA Leslie Dam at 578 Leslie Dam Rd.

UPDATE 10.30PM: QUEENSLAND Police Service have declared an emergency situation in Stanthorpe as the bushfire continues to ravage properties.

The official declaration was made under the Public Safety Preservation Act and allows police greater control over the situation on the ground.

The zone is between Cannon Creek Rd, Bamberry Rd, Donnelly Castle Rd, New England Highway, Dalcouth Rd, Sugarloaf Rd and Hale Haven Dr. 

Residents are advised not to enter the declared zone and avoid travel unless directed by emergency services. 

As the fire rages on, conditions affect not only residents but their loved ones from across the country.

Red Cross has launched register.find.unite to allow affected residents to easily communicate their safety to family and friends and to reunite after a crisis.

If either you, or a loved one, has been affected by the fires in the Southern Downs today Red Cross encourages you to register by visiting redcross.org.au or calling 1800 442 182.

Queensland Police declare an emergency zone as a bushfire rages at Stanthorpe.
Queensland Police declare an emergency zone as a bushfire rages at Stanthorpe. Queensland Police

UPDATE 10PM: APPLETHORPE residents are urged to evacuate as the bushfire continues to travel north-easterly near Texas Rd and the New England Highway.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services have advised the fire is growing in severity and the safest option is for residents to leave now.

The best evacuation route is via the New England Highway using High St to the evacuation centre that has opened at Talc St in Stanthorpe. 

The fire is expected to head towards the New England Highway between Caves Rd, Spiller Lane, Old Caves Rd and Mayfair Ln.

There are also some reports of electricity returning to areas such as Cottonvale.

There are no further updates to the situation near Stanthorpe at this time.

Samantha Wantling captures a photo of a raging fire at Stanthorpe.
Samantha Wantling captures a photo of a raging fire at Stanthorpe. Samantha Wantling

UPDATE 8.30PM:  Queensland Fire and Emergency Services advises there is a bushfire approaching Stanthorpe.

People in the area are in imminent danger and need to seek shelter now to survive.

Do not attempt to leave the area. Driving now would be extremely dangerous and potentially deadly. If you are not in the area, do not return.

At 8.30pm, a large and fast-moving fire is impacting Glenlyon Dve, Amiens Rd and the New England Highway.

It is travelling in an easterly direction towards Nelson Crescent, McLeod Court and Michelle Road (in Happy Valley).

It is expected to impact Nelson Crescent, McLeod Court and Michelle Road (in Happy Valley).

The New England Highway is closed north and south of Stanthorpe.

Conditions are now very dangerous and firefighters are unable to prevent the fire advancing.

The fire poses a threat to all lives directly in its path.

Fire crews may not be able to protect your property.

You should not expect a firefighter at your door: shelter now. Water and mobile phone service may be lost.

Power has been lost in the Stanthorpe township and Ergon are assessing the situation.

People in the area will be affected by thick smoke and embers, which will reduce visibility and air quality.

As the fire approaches, it will become difficult for you to see, hear, and breathe. You will experience intense heat, darkness, and loud noise.

An evacuation centre is open at Stanthorpe Fitness Centre, however driving now would be extremely dangerous.

Call 000 immediately if you believe you are under threat.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO:
- Listen to your local radio station or visit the Rural Fire Service (RFS) website for regular updates.
- Put on protective clothing (e.g., a long-sleeved cotton shirt, boots with thick soles).
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- If you suffer from a respiratory condition, keep your medication close by.
- Bring pets inside; restrain them with a leash, a cage, or inside a secure room; and provide them with plenty of water.
- Move flammable materials such as doormats, wheelie bins, and outdoor furniture away from your house.
- Fill containers such as your bath, sinks, and buckets with water so you have access to drinking water and firefighting water.
- Close windows and doors, sealing the gaps under doors and screens with wet towels to keep smoke out of the house.
- Identify a safe spot to shelter in, which would be a place with more than one exit, preferably inside a brick building, away from windows and doors. The safest spot is the place that will keep you furthest away from the intense heat from the fire. As the fire approaches and passes, the safest spot will change, so be ready to move.

FURTHER INFORMATION:
• For bushfire preparation tips, visit the RFS website: www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au/BushFire_Safety
• For information about road closures, call 13 19 40 or visit www.qldtraffic.qld.gov.au

Kristine Kotzas captured a photo of the fast-moving fire from Mt Marlay.
Kristine Kotzas captured a photo of the fast-moving fire from Mt Marlay. Kristine Kotzas

UPDATE 8.10PM:  SOUTHERN Downs Regional Council is encouraging Stanthorpe residents to evacuate to the Stanthorpe Fitness Centre on Talc St.

A spokeswoman for the SDRC advises that, per the QFES warning, current conditions make it too dangerous to attempt to drive as far as Warwick.

For those who have had to drive to Warwick, they are able to assist in facilitating accomodation. For more information please contact  1300 697 372

UPDATE 7.35PM: QFES has warned residents conditions are getting worse at Applethorpe and have advised everyone in the area to leave now. 

Those without a bushfire plan are being urged to evacuate now and those with a bushfire plan should follow it immediately. 

At 7.15pm, QFES reported there was a large and fast-moving fire burning near Texas Rd and the New England Highway.

It is reportedly travelling in a north-easterly direction towards the New England Highway between Caves Rd, Spiller Lane, Old Caves Rd and Mayfair Lane.

It is expected to impact this area in the next two hours.

QFES warned this fire could have a significant impact on the community.

UPDATE 7.05PM: FIRES threaten homes and businesses across the Southern Downs, as 11 fire crews desperately work to contain the blaze at Stanthorpe.

Aircraft have been spotted assisting in the area but a spokeswoman for the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services have no further information on their involvement.

A power plant has reportedly been affected by the fire and Ergon Energy has shut it down amid safety concerns, leaving more than 5000 homes without power.

The Southern Downs Regional Council has advised that animals can be moved to the Stanthorpe Showgrounds at 8-11 High Street, Stanthorpe. The caretaker has been alerted and the showgrounds are open. 

A spokeswoman for the Queensland Police Service said there are many police working in the area to assist the fire service.

Bec Pattie captured a water bomber trying to douse the flames.
Bec Pattie captured a water bomber trying to douse the flames. Bec Patti

UPDATE 6.10PM: APPLETHORPE residents should prepare to leave the area as the bushfire in the Stanthorpe area is moving quickly.

The large and fast moving fire is now expected to impact the New England Highway, from Texas Road to the Applethorpe Township, including Passmore Road, Caves Road, Old Caves Road, Mayfair Lane and Spiller Lane.

QFES ask residents to be ready to follow their Bushfire Survival Plan or prepare to leave the area soon.

Multiple crews are on site trying to contain the fire.

UPDATE 5.30PM: THERE is an emergency warning for the Amiens fire fast approaching Stanthorpe.

QFES reports people in the area are in immediate danger and must now seek shelter to survive.

Firefighters are now unable to prevent the dangerous fire from advancing and it poses a threat to all lives directly in its path.

It is too late to leave the area as driving now would be extremely dangerous and potentially deadly.

Those who have evacuated are urged not to return.

The fire is travelling in an easterly direction towards Nelson Crescent, McLeod Court and Michelle Road (in Happy Valley).

It is expected to impact Nelson Crescent, McLeod Court and Michelle Road (in Happy Valley).

Residents are advised to be aware that power, water, and mobile phone service may be lost.

People in the area will be affected by thick smoke and embers, which will reduce visibility and air quality. As the fire approaches, it will become difficult for you to see, hear, and breathe. You will experience intense heat, darkness, and loud noise.

An evacuation centre is open at Stanthorpe Fitness Centre, however driving now would be extremely dangerous.

Call Triple Zero (000) immediately if you believe you are under threat.

UPDATE 5.20PM: STANTHORPE and Amiens residents are urged to leave the area now.

The QFES updated the bushfire warning to 'WATCH AND ACT' as the large, uncontrolled fire travels fast from along Plant Lane east towards Glenlyon Dr.

The fire has come within 20 metres of homes.

Those seeking to evacuate should head east on Amiens Rd towards Stanthorpe.

People in the Stanthorpe area will be affected by smoke, which will reduce visibility and air quality.

Call Triple Zero (000) immediately if you believe you are under threat or in a life-threatening situation.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO:

. Listen to your local radio station or visit the Rural Fire Service (RFS) website for regular updates.

. Put on protective clothing (e.g., a long-sleeved cotton shirt, boots with thick soles).

. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

If you are leaving:

. Secure your pets for safe transport.

. Check for road closures and then advise family and friends of your intended travel route.

. Take your important documents and essential items (e.g., passports, birth certificates, prescription medication, food and water, and protective clothing) when you leave.

. Drive with caution in low visibility conditions.

If you are unable to leave:

. Bring pets inside; restrain them with a leash, a cage, or inside a secure room; and provide them with plenty of water.

. Move flammable materials such as doormats, wheelie bins, and outdoor furniture away from your house.

. Fill containers such as your bath, sinks, and buckets with water so you have access to drinking water and firefighting water.

. Close windows and doors, sealing the gaps under doors and screens with wet towels to keep smoke out of the house.

. If you suffer from a respiratory condition, keep your medication close by.

UPDATE 4.30PM: A FIRE stretching 20 metres along the riverbank at Parker St in Warwick has been contained.

According to a QFES spokeswoman one crew attended the scene and is now finishing up.

Eight crews continue to battle the blaze at Amiens.

Firefighters have been fighting the blaze since this afternoon.
Firefighters have been fighting the blaze since this afternoon. Matthew Purcell

UPDATE 4.15PM: A VEGETATION fire has been reported on Parker St in Warwick.

One crew arrived at the scene at 4.10pm.

Further information to come.

According to a QFES spokeswoman, the fire at Amiens continues to burn out of control and there are multiple fire crews on scene.

UPDATE 4PM: THE fire warning at Amiens has been upgraded to 'WATCH AND ACT', according to the QFES.

A large and fast moving fire is travelling from Plant Ln and Amiens Rd, heading east towards Jimmy Mann Rd, Glenlyon Dr, Mcleod Crt, Nelson Crsc and Amiens Rd.

The fire is likely to impact Glenlyon Drive, Happy Valley and the Stanthorpe Racecourse.

Residents are advised to prepare to leave as the situation could get worse quickly.

A spokeswoman for the QFES said residents need to be ready to follow their bushfire survival plan and if they do not have a plan, they should be ready to leave the area.

Fire crews are working to contain the fire but firefighters may not be able to protect every property.

The fire on the New England Hwy at Tenterfield has blocked the highway in both directions.

The structure on fire is reported to be a catholic school.

An additional Tenterfield fire is burning out of control in the Mount Mackenzie Road area and is heading South.

Residents in this area are advised it is too late to leave and should seek shelter and protect themselves from the heat of the fire.

If your life is at risk, call 000 immediately.

UPDATE AT 3.30PM: REPORTS of a fire at Applethorpe have been linked to the fire reported at Amiens.

According to a QFES spokeswoman, a fire is burning in the vicinity of Plant Ln.

Residents are advised they may be affected by smoke and reduced air quality.

Three crews are attending a structural fire further south in Tenterfield, with another four crews en route.

QFES was called at 2.50pm.

Two crew members wearing breathing apparatus are currently investigating the structure.

EARLIER: VEGETATION fires have been reported in two locations on the Southern Downs this afternoon.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services were called to a fire at the corner of Amiens Rd and Bapaume Rd in Amiens at 2.35pm.

The bushfire warning in this location is 'advice' and encourages residents to keep up to date and decide what actions to take if the situation changes.

Two crews are en route to the scene and no further information is available at this time.

Another vegetation fire is blazing at Wallangarra.

One crew was called out to Wallangarra at 2.10pm but attended the scene only briefly before leaving at 2.35pm.

Two further crews were called back at 2.20pm and are currently en route.

Further details to come.



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