Far north Queensland bushfire threatens lives and homes as residents told 'leave now'

A large “dangerous and uncontrolled” bushfire was threatening lives and homes in far north Queensland, with residents told to leave immediately.

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services was fighting a blaze travelling on both sides of Oakey Creek Road in Cooktown, north of Cairns.

Conditions were very dangerous and firefighters may soon be unable to prevent the fire advancing, the “leave immediately” alert issue warned.

“The fire poses a threat to all lives directly in its path,” it said.

“You should not expect a firefighter at your door: act now.”

QFES said the fire was expected to reach multiple properties and have a significant impact on the community.

Power, water and mobile phone service may be lost and road conditions may become very dangerous over the next several hours.

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

Earlier on Saturday, a bushfire emergency was declared in a seaside town on Tasmania’s east coast.

A hazard reduction burn on the outskirts of St Helens, two hours east of Launceston, broke containment lines and firefighters were struggling to bring it back under control.

Those living in the area were told to put bushfire emergency plans into action, with the Tasmania Fire Service saying homes were at risk from falling embers.

TFS also warned smoke and ash would make it difficult to see and breathe.

An evacuation centre was set up at the St Helens Football Club.


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