Queensland’s acting fire commissioner says there are 55 fires still burning in the state, managed by more than 1,000 personnel.
He says they have 40 aircraft either ready or in use, and he is “comfortable with where we are at today and how we are set in terms of our readiness”.
“I’m very comfortable in terms of the work done. In saying that, with the severe conditions in the south-east and this afternoon into tonight, and tomorrow into central Queensland, those containment lines, where we’ve got them, will be tested.
“[But] we have got resources ready for any new outbreaks.”
Palaszczuk said air quality particle ratings were 10 times higher than usual today, stretching from Brisbane to Ipswich and the Gold Coast.
A meteorologist from the weather bureau adds there is no significant rainfall on the horizon for Queensland.
The Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, has just given a press conference thanking firefighters, the defence force and the extra 110 firefighters from Tasmania, Victoria, the NT and New Zealand.
She confirms that 12 homes have been destroyed.
Fitzsimmons concludes by saying that the worst is yet to come, and the blazes will continue through the night with “no reprieve”.
“We’re going to have a long night ahead of us because this southerly is going to continue through, and those strong winds are not going to get to northern NSW until near midnight,” he says.
“Unfortunately there is no reprieve, there is no rainfall in this change.”
He adds that conditions will stay incredibly dangerous next week, and for the rest of the season.
“We’re expecting a cyclical pattern of increasing hot temperatures as we head into next week. It’s going to be a long difficult fire season, and we have got the worst of our conditions typically ahead of us.”
The next NSW update will be at 2pm AEDT.
Thankfully, there are still no new fires in the catastrophic warning areas, Shane Fitzsimmons says.
He says the weather forecast is “unfolding as was predicted”.
“The forecast indicated across the ranges, we’re going to be seeing average wind strengths across the ranges of 40 to 60km/h, gusting 70 to 90km/h throughout the afternoon.
“We’re already seeing winds up around that 40 to 50km/h and gusting over 70km/h. So they’ll continue to strengthen and build ahead of the passage of the cold front that’s moving across the state.
“And late on today, we’re expecting the southerly to start influencing and driving, a southerly buster up the coastal strip, and across the ranges and further inland.”
There are several hundreds of homes in these areas, he says, but many have already left early.
He says firefighters have been in the area, sharing advice and “guiding people about leaving and leaving early.”
For the Gulf Road fire, his message to Emmerville and Stanton is: “It’s too late to leave and they will need to seek shelter as the fire approaches.”
For the Hillville Road fire: “It’s getting closer to the Pacific Highway north of Nabiac, and the police and authorities are in the process of closing the Pacific Highway.”
Third emergency warning issued
Three fires are now at emergency warning, Shane Fitzsimmons says.
They are: the Thunderbolts Way fire (north of the Gloucester), the Gulf Road fire (south-west of Tenterfield), and the Hillville Road fire (south-west of Taree).
They are all existing fires in north-eastern NSW, which have been upgraded today.
12pm AEDT update – second emergency warning
The NSW RFS commissioner, Shane Fitzsimmons, is speaking again in Sydney now.
Moments earlier, the RFS sent out a second emergency warning for Gulf Road, Torrington.
“The fire has breached containment lines and is spreading quickly. If you are in Emmaville or Stannum, seek shelter. If you are in Deepwater, monitor conditions.”
At the same time, Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is also giving a press conference.
A southerly change is heading up the coast, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
That has the potential to cause fires to change direction, adding more uncertainty and potential spread.
Port Macquarie resident Patrick Rudd says now is the time to talk about climate change, as fires edge closer to his hometown.
The 15-year old high school student told AAP: “If now is not the time to talk about climate change, then when is?”
Rudd’s school was closed on Monday, and he said today that smoke was so thick in town “you can taste it”.
“It’s definitely very scary,” he said. “And to see it affecting my town and me personally, it feels very threatening. It feels almost like our first look at what might lie ahead. If now is not the time to talk about climate change, then when is?
“It’s not the ‘greenies’ who are politicising [the bushfires], it’s actually the firefighters and emergency services.”
Rudd was one of the local organisers of a climate strike at his school.
First emergency warning
The first emergency warning of the day has just been issued.
A fire is burning and spreading quickly in the area of Thunderbolts Way and Nowendoc Road on the mid north coast of NSW.
“The fire is spreading quickly,” the RFS says. “If you are in the path of the fire, you are at risk.
“If you are in the Nowendoc and Mount George area, you at risk. It is too late to leave.”
Power outages have struck homes in Sydney’s north, according to AusGrid. The affected suburbs are Ryde, Gladesville, Putney and Tennyson Point.