11AM: A community meeting will be held at the Supper Room at the Stanthorpe Civic Centre at 1.30pm today – Saturday 7 September – to update residents on the bushfire situation in the Stanthorpe area.
Residents are encouraged to attend the meeting which will be addressed by Assistant Commissioner of Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Megan Stiffler and Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie.
As of this morning bushfires are still burning in Applethorpe, The Summit, Thulimbah, Cottonvale and Dalveen and QFES says conditions could get worse. It is understood at least seven homes have been destroyed overnight and around 190 people were evacuated overnight to WIRAC in Warwick and the Leslie Dam YMCA, and 130 to the Stanthorpe Fitness Centre.
QFES says 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.
People in the area will be affected by smoke, which will reduce visibility and air quality.
An evacuation centre remains open at the Stanthorpe Fitness Centre on Talc Street, Stanthorpe. The YMCA Leslie Dam Active Recreation Centre is also open at 578 Leslie Dam Road.
Call Triple Zero (000) immediately if you believe your property is under threat.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO:
• Listen to your local radio station or visit the Rural Fire Service (RFS) website for regular updates.
• If you have a bushfire survival plan, finalise it now so you are ready to follow it.
• If you do not have a bushfire survival plan, or if your plan is to leave, identify where you will go if you leave the area.
• Advise family and friends of your plan.
• Close windows and doors to minimise smoke exposure.
• If you suffer from a respiratory condition, keep your medication close by.
• Drive with caution in low visibility conditions.
• Contact your neighbours to see if they need help preparing for the bushfire.
• Pack important documents and essential items (e.g., passports, birth certificates, prescription medication, food and water, and protective clothing) in case you need to leave the area.
• Put on protective clothing (e.g., a long-sleeved cotton shirt, boots with thick soles).
• Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
• Bring pets inside; restrain them with a leash, a cage, or inside a secure room; and provide them with plenty of water.
• Take action to protect your livestock.
• 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.
KEEP UP TO DATE BY:
• Following QFES on Facebook (@QldFireandRescueService) and Twitter (@QldFES)
• Staying tuned to your local radio station. Find your local ABC radio station at https://radio.abc.net.au/help/offline and your local commercial radio station at http://www.commercialradio.com.au/find-a-station/queensland;
• Visiting the Rural Fire Service (RFS) website at www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au/map
• 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
FURTHER UPDATES TO FOLLOW.