Heat is on for horror fire weekend
PARCHED southeast Queensland is again bracing for severe fire conditions as soaring temperatures grip the state.
The dire forecast has emergency crews on alert, after one firefighter was injured and emergency services confirmed at least one house was lost to a fast-moving bushfire on the Darling Downs.
The large fire, near Millmerran, west of Toowoomba, has blackened almost 1200ha and continues to burn in the Western Creek State Forest near Cypress Gardens and Forest Ridge.
There are 48 fires burning across the state, and more than 200,000ha have been burnt since the start of the bushfire season.
Since early November, 20 homes have burnt to the ground.
The firefighter injured by a falling tree during backburning operations was treated in hospital and later released.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Deputy Commissioner John Bolger says there are unconfirmed reports that two structures have been lost, but it's not known if they are sheds or homes.
Conditions will be more challenging heading into the weekend, as temperatures 12C above average push past 40C in the Lockyer Valley and Ipswich today, the weather bureau warned.
Spokeswoman Jess Gardner said: "In eastern parts of Queensland, we are experiencing heatwave conditions as we are seeing temperatures between 2C and 6C above average.
"That will continue to increase over the coming days, peaking on Friday and Saturday, getting up to 12C above average."
A "leave now" warning remained in place for residents of Cypress Gardens and Forest Ridge yesterday afternoon.
The fire continues to burn near Cypress Avenue, Wallaby Drive, Koala Drive, Paddys Creek Rd, Thyme Avenue, Basil Drive, Sage Rd, Rosemary Court, Bay Rd, Kimberley Drive and the Gore Highway, Cypress Gardens. People who don't have a bushfire plan have been advised to leave.
Those who left on Wednesday have been told it is not safe to return, with an evacuation centre open at Millmerran Showgrounds.
Meanwhile, firefighters issued a warning over a bushfire in Stapylton on the Gold Coast yesterday afternoon.
Relieving rain is not expected in southeast Queensland until as late as February.