National

Fires rage as heatwave bears down on Qld

By AAP Newswire

Unrelenting bushfires that have scorched Queensland and burnt homes to the ground are amounting to a cost blowout for the state.

Up to 50 homes and more than 200,000 hectares have been burnt since the beginning of the unprecedented bushfire season in September.

"What we don't count is the number of houses our crews save," Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said on Friday.

"I think if you were to go out there in the last three months and count that it would be many, many hundreds, if not into the thousands."

But the costs are adding up.

A fleet of aircraft helping fire crews on the ground would in previous seasons have left Queensland for the southern states by now.

"We've kept most of those through until the end of January at least, at very large expense obviously to the state, as well as the ongoing bill that we're carrying with wages and operations," he said.

"But it's worth it, we've got to do it. We'll deal with the dollar figure at the end of it."

At least 40 fires were still burning across the state on Friday, with temperatures expected to reach about 12C above the December average in coming days, the Bureau of Meteorology says.

Late on Friday, Redbank Creek residents were being told to immediately flee from a fast-moving blaze burning within Esk National Park, near Esk Hampton Road, travelling in an easterly direction.

People in the town of Esk were being told to prepare to leave.

Residents were also being urged to evacuate due to separate fires at Mount Stanley, near Kingaroy, and at Patrick Estate and Wivenhoe Pocket, on the edge of Lake Wivenhoe.

Prepare to leave warnings were in place for a grassfire at Cornubia, south of Brisbane, along with those in Cypress Gardens and Forest Ridge where the Milmerran fire is still burning.

The severe fire conditions have exhausted emergency crews on alert.

"Our people are tired, and our people have been working at this a long time now, but the spirit and the morale is still there," QFES acting assistant commissioner Darryl King said.

He said the conditions have been unrelenting for crews and officials.

"We're getting pockets of extreme weather ... days following after days, week after week," he said.

"I ask everybody to be very careful, very vigilant on the situation around them, call any fires they see, at the earliest moment, so that we can put the weight of attack on and extinguish them."

The Milmerran fire has already destroyed 10 buildings, including two houses that were gutted by the inferno.

Queensland is set for a scorcher on Saturday as the heatwave gripping the state reaches its peak.

Brisbane is forecast to hit 39C, while inland areas of the southeast including Gatton and Ipswich are expected to hit well over 40C.

The Darling Downs, Maranoa and Warrego regions are forecast to be the hottest areas in the state, with towns reaching temperatures eight to 12 degrees above the December average.