Happy Valley residents have fled as a bushfire bears down on the township on the east coast of Queensland’s Fraser Island, where the blaze has been burning for months.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services issued a warning around 3.30am on Monday telling people to leave immediately as the fire approached.
“Conditions are now very dangerous and firefighters may soon be unable to prevent the fire advancing,” it warned.
The large fire is travelling in a south easterly direction towards Happy Valley and is expected to hit the township around 7am.
“The fire is expected to have a significant impact on the community,” the QFES said on Monday.
Residents were told to head to the Eastern Beach and head south to the Eurong Resort.
The change in the bushfire conditions was a disappointment for Happy Valley residents who on Sunday night thought they might be out of the woods as favourable weather conditions on the day slowed the fire’s speed and intensity.
Water bombing aircraft were working on the fire until last light on Sunday evening and will resume this vital effort on Monday morning.
Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Mark Ryan said more than 90 personnel in 38 vehicles and 17 aircraft were on Fraser Island, including a large air tanker.
“I am also advised as well, that the New South Wales-based large aircraft tanker will be sent to Queensland tomorrow to assist in our firefighting efforts,” he said on Sunday.
The air tanker will be used to put gel lines down between the head of the fire and the outskirts of the Happy Valley settlement to try and stop it impacting the town.
There were about 50 people in the Happy Valley area on Sunday night trying to protect their homes and participating in the firefighting effort.
There are also firefighting resources at Kingfisher Bay Resort, which remains at risk if winds change to the south or southeast.
“We’ll continue our firefighting efforts in the coming days and perhaps even weeks ahead of us, but we’re not going to put this fire out until we get significant rain across Fraser Island,” But Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Greg Leach said on Sunday.
The bushfire on the world heritage listed Fraser Island, off the Queensland coast near Hervey Bay, has been burning since mid-October.