North Stradbroke Island fire could spread to nearby islands
Firefighters are today focusing their efforts on a major blaze on North Stradbroke Island, off Brisbane, and on a cluster of blazes on the central Queensland coast.
Wild winds and the possibility of lightning strikes from storms have North Stradbroke residents on alert, but properties are not currently under threat.
People living on neighbouring Russell and MacLeay islands are also on guard, amid warnings that flying embers could pose a threat to them.
On the mainland, crews are monitoring six significant fires burning in central Queensland. They are all in and around Deepwater, the location of the first bushfire emergency began more than a week ago.
Firefighters are closely watching blazes at Deepwater, Captain Creek, Baffle Creek, Rules Beach, Winfield and Lowmead, with residents warned to be ready to leave if the situation worsens.
END IN SIGHT
More than 100 fires continue to burn across Queensland but authorities believe the state's unprecedented bushfire crisis won't drag on for much longer.
Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said heatwave conditions that have swept the state should abate by the middle of the week.
"We're at day nine of significant operations (but) we're nearly there," he told ABC.
"Once we get through to Wednesday this whole heatwave epidemic that we're having will subside."
He said that meant control lines around active blazes would have a much better chance of holding.
Residents forced from their homes will soon be able to think about returning.
Mr Crawford said evacuees were eager to return home but authorities had to make sure the fire threat had passed.
He also warned people could be killed in the clean-up phase, with falling trees in scorched areas a major risk.
A 21-year-old man was killed by a falling tree while helping to fight fires on his family’s property in Rolleston on Friday night.
"There's still a lot of danger left in a lot of these places," Mr Crawford said.
About 500 firefighters from interstate are still working the fire grounds, but Mr Crawford said they should all return home towards the end of the week.
"The weather is supposed to be well and truly in our favour (by then)," he said.
TROPICAL CYCLONE OWEN
Australia's first tropical cyclone of the summer should deliver some rain over fire-ravaged central Queensland later this week.
Tropical Cyclone Owen formed 1000km off the coast of northern Queensland yesterday. It could intensify into a Category 2 system later today.
It will not threaten the coastline but could direct moisture-laden air toward's the state's east this week, ending the record-breaking heatwave gripping much of the state.
Showers and thunderstorms are forecast to affect fire-scarred aread of the state from tomorrow.
Although the rain will help, the storms will also bring strong winds which could cause existing fires to behave erratically.
- With AAP and Weatherzone