Firefighters have battled blazes across NSW. Picture Nathan Edwards.
Firefighters have battled blazes across NSW. Picture Nathan Edwards.

Third body found as NSW, Qld fires rage

• Three dead, five missing, and 30 people injured

• More than 150 homes destroyed

• 81 fires burning in NSW, 43 uncontained, five at emergency level (four in NSW, one in Qld)

• Evacuated Noosa residents left in limbo

 

A third person is confirmed to have died in the devastating bushfires, with a body found in a burnt home on the mid north coast of NSW.

The body was discovered at Johns River, north of Taree.

"The burnt out home belongs to a woman aged 63; however, a post-mortem examination will be required to confirm identity and cause of death," a NSW Police spokesperson said.

"Officers from Manning Great Lakes Police District are speaking with the woman's family, and have initiated inquiries."

It comes after the first victim of the devastating bushfires ripping through parts of Northern New South Wales and South East Queensland was named.

The ABC has identified Vivian Chaplain, 69, as one of the three people to have died in NSW's bushfire emergency. The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) says five more remain unaccounted for.

More than 30 people have been injured and 150 homes have been destroyed.

A man was discovered inside a burnt out car this morning at the Kangawalla fire, near Glen Innes in NSW, while a woman died in hospital after being found overnight with severe burns.

Vivian Chaplain, 69, is reported as having perished after a bushfire swept through on Friday November 8, 2019.
Vivian Chaplain, 69, is reported as having perished after a bushfire swept through on Friday November 8, 2019.

6.30PM STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARED IN 42 QLD REGIONS

A State of Fire Emergency has been declared across 42 local Government areas in Queensland as the state braces for worsening weather conditions over the next few days.

Lighting of all types of fires, as well as any activities that could spark a fire, is prohibited.

QFES acting commissioner Mike Wassing urged people to be cautious and do anything possible to prevent further fires igniting as fire crews battle multiple blazes.

Elsewhere, the Bills Crossing Crowdy fire has been downgraded, bringing the tally of fires at emergency level in NSW down to four.

They include Gum Scrub, Liberation Trail, Washpool State Forest and Mt Nardi National Park.

South Australia have deployed a specialist team to assist with the fires.

4PM FIRST VICTIM NAMED

Vivian Chaplain is reported to have been seriously injured when a bushfire swept through Wytaliba near Glen Innes. Tragically, she couldn't be saved.

Earlier, RFS commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said she had "40-50 per cent burns to her body", according to The Daily Telegraph.

"She was also unconscious and the crews were rendering first aid and CPR for several hours," he said.

Ms Chaplain's daughter Chrystal Harwood told the ABC that the grandmother of six had headed back into the bushfire zone to save her animals and home.

"She was stuck and we couldn't get to her. The loss of her has devastated our family there was nothing we could do."

Seven people are missing in the Glen Innes area.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters the carnage had escalated with seven people now reported missing. More than 1300 firefighters and volunteers continue to battle blazes across the state.

Scroll down for live updates and warnings as they happen

"The situation is beyond serious. Our thoughts and prayers go to the families and loved ones of those two deceased persons," the Premier said.

"We are seeing situations in NSW with these fires we have not seen before and of course concerns remain mainly around the Glen Innes area and also Port Macquarie and Taree regions and the townships around those communities."

Five fires are currently listed at emergency levels in NSW.

FIRES NEAR YOU: NSW FIRE SERVICE

FIRES NEAR YOU: QLD FIRE SERVICE

The remains of the residence at Four Paws boarding kennels smoulders along the Pacific Highway south of Taree. Picture: AAP Image/Darren Pateman
The remains of the residence at Four Paws boarding kennels smoulders along the Pacific Highway south of Taree. Picture: AAP Image/Darren Pateman

 

2.50PM GRAVE CONCERNS FOR MORE FATALITIES

The RFS' Mr Fitzsimmons has warned that the death toll is likely to rise beyond two.

Seven people are said to be missing.

"We can't rule out the really grave concerns that there could be more losses or indeed more fatalities as we get through and identify details across these fire grounds," he told reporters.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said army reservists could be deployed "if necessary". While they aren't trained firefighters they could help create firebreaks away from the front or provide accommodation and logistical support, Mr Morrison said, reported AAP.

"These fires have already claimed two lives … and as we get access to further areas that have been cut off we are expecting worse news again," he said.

 

A home goes up in flames in Rainbow Flat on the NSW Mid North Coast. Photo Jeremy Piper
A home goes up in flames in Rainbow Flat on the NSW Mid North Coast. Photo Jeremy Piper

 

 

 

1.30PM THERE WAS NO HOPE. HE WAS IN TEARS

News.com.au reporter Vanessa Brown is at Rainbow Flat, just to the east of the main fire front. She spoke to local resident Kim who said she had spent the night in her car after police evacuated them from their home.

She described the terrifying sight of the approaching fires: "The whole sky was red. It was pretty horrible."

She was sanguine about the prospect of losing her home.

"Look, it's a house. We have our five dogs and our four humans out. Everyone was happy that they had whatever they loved. And I've got the picture of my mum."

Julie, who also lives close to Rainbow Flat, spoke about the moment she saw her landlord's farm, caught up the horror blaze.

RELATED: Fire fighters battle fires burning across NSW

RELATED: 'Frightening' photos of 'apocalyptic' bushfires

"There were some out-buildings on fire, the front yard was on fire, the bush paddock where the horses are was fully on fire.

"I don't know whether the house went up. He came back to a property that I'm staying in and he was in tears. He just didn't know what was going to happen."

Julie doesn't know whether she will have a home to go back to.

"We've got 10,000 litres but there was no water coming through the hoses and the power's out. So it is a pretty scary.

She described her rushed evacuation: "Five dogs in the Barina, that wasn't fun."

 

1PM 'IT WASN'T A FIRE, IT WAS A FIRESTORM'

Local RFS captain Paul Johnston was struggling to comprehend the devastation he witnessed while battling the blaze near Nymboida River.

"It was an unprecedented event and I don't think that I can articulate exactly what I felt but this is something that's never happened to this degree - certainly here," he told the ABC.

"It was a storm. It wasn't a fire, it was a storm. It was a firestorm.

"Nymboida (south west of Grafton) is a small community. Everyone knows everyone, and the community when evacuated were obviously devastated."

 

 

 

 

 

12.10PM THOUSANDS EVACUATED FROM NOOSA BUSHFIRE

Thousands of people cleared from the path of a bushfire in Noosa on the Sunshine Coast overnight are in limbo as fire fighters assess whether or not it is safe for them to go home.

Tewantin, in Noosa's north, is cut off and there are concerns spot fires could cause more havoc as temperatures rise throughout the day.

Roughly 2000 people were evacuated from parts of Tewantin and Noosa North Shore on Friday afternoon and into the night, independent Noosa MP Sandy Bolton said.

They sought shelter at local showgrounds, sporting facilities and church outreach centres.

"I know that this does have an emotional impact on people," Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said this morning.

"We'll make sure that there is the appropriate counselling that people will need, because when they actually have to suddenly get up and leave their home and belongings it can be very distressing."

It's been a difficult 24 hours for residents and firefighting crews in the area, reported AAP.

One firefighter broke their leg and a home has been destroyed at Cooroibah.

"I think when eventually the areas are opened up and people can see how close these fires came to property they'll be aware of what an incredible job the firefighting team did," Noosa Mayor Tony Wellington said.

Residents and firefighters fight a bushfire that has threatened homes in Rainbow Flat on NSW Mid North Coast. Picture: Jeremy Piper
Residents and firefighters fight a bushfire that has threatened homes in Rainbow Flat on NSW Mid North Coast. Picture: Jeremy Piper

 

***FILE***Smoke and fire is seen in the distance near Rainbow Flats, NSW, Friday, November 8, 2019. At least 100 homes have been lost in NSW's North, with about 80 fires still burning around the state. (AAP Image/Shane Chalker) NO ARCHIVING
***FILE***Smoke and fire is seen in the distance near Rainbow Flats, NSW, Friday, November 8, 2019. At least 100 homes have been lost in NSW's North, with about 80 fires still burning around the state. (AAP Image/Shane Chalker) NO ARCHIVING

11.49AM PRISON INMATES EVACUATED AFTER FIRE RISK

More than 160 prisoners have been evacuated from jails between Glen Innes and Grafton as fires continue to threaten parts of Northern NSW.

"Staff from Glen Innes, Grafton and our Security Operations Group did an outstanding job under such circumstances to ensure everyone's safety," Corrective Services Commissioner Peter Severin said.

Inmates at Grafton Correctional Centre remain locked-in their cells while inmates from Glen Innes are temporarily housed in various sections of the prison.

 

11.20AM QUEENSLAND AREAS TOLD TO EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY

Residents in Noosa North Shore have been told to "leave immediately" by the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service, while those in Cooroibah/Tewantin have also been told to leave.

Premier Palaszczuk said 36 fires were still burning in the state.

 

 

 

 

11.11AM MID-COAST RESIDENTS TOLD TO 'WATCH AND ACT'

The NSW RFS have said conditions in the state's Mid-Coast have improved but encourage residents to remain alert after issuing a "watch and act" notification.

"If you're in the areas of Johns River, Diamond Head, Crowdy Head, Harrington, Laurieton and Dunbogan, continue to monitor conditions," the service tweeted.

 

 

 

10.40AM SECOND PERSON CONFIRMED DEAD, ONE MORE MISSING

NSW Premier Berejiklian confirmed a second person has died as more than 1300 firefighters and volunteers continue to battle the blazes.

"Our thoughts and prayers of course go to the families and loved ones of those two deceased persons," she said.

"We are seeing situations in NSW with these fires we have not seen before and of course concerns remain mainly around the Glen Innes area and also Port Macquarie and Taree regions and the townships around those communities.

"Please know that we may not be through the worst of it but also please know that we have the resources, the equipment and the personnel to make sure we do everything we can to protect lives and communities."

NSW RFS spokesman Ben Shepherd said the body found in a burnt out vehicle in Kangawalla appears to have been trapped as a number of residents were unable to evacuate the fire ravaged region.

"What we saw was a massive escalation of these fires very quickly yesterday," he told news.com.au.

"In some cases, it didn't allow us to offer people the opportunity to leave because we were seeing spot fires develop up to 12km ahead of the main fire front.

"Under certain conditions, people may choose to stay and defend their homes but we'd only ever encourage that normally in severe fire danger, if your property has been well-prepared, and you're mentally and physically able to do that."

- Adrianna Zappavigna

 

Embers are seen from a burning tree as a bushfire burns close to homes on Railway Parade in Woodford NSW, Friday. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts
Embers are seen from a burning tree as a bushfire burns close to homes on Railway Parade in Woodford NSW, Friday. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

 

10.10AM MORE THAN 1000 FIREFIGHTERS CURRENTLY ON THE GROUND

Teh RFS' Mr Shepherd said more than 70 fires burning with at least 32 of those yet to be contained.

"There's more than 1000 firefighters and support personnel out on these fire grounds at the moment," he told news.com.au.

"Our concentration is still very much on all of those fires still at emergency warning levels, which are predominantly in that Port Macquarie coast area and also towards Glen Innes."

"The main thing we want to get across to people is that if you are close to any of these current fires, you have to remain vigilant, you have to remain prepared."

Mr Shepherd implored both residents and tourists to a have plan ready.

"And even if you aren't in these fire-prone areas at the moment, if you live, work, or are visiting bushfire-prone areas over the coming weeks and months, we want everyone to ensure that they're prepared and importantly, have a plan," he said.

- Adrianna Zappavigna

 

 

9.50AM 'SEEN THINGS WE'LL NEVER FORGET'

A devastating Facebook post from the Pacific Palms Rural Fire Brigade has detailed the destruction of the fires in New South Wales.

The crew said it arrived at Bobin to the west of Port Macquarie where multiple homes were burnt the ground as well as a primary school.

"A furious fire had ripped through the town like none of us have seen and continued to make its way through properties in front of us," the post said.

"Unfortunately we (have) seen things we'll never forget today and never want to see again.

"Our thoughts go out to Bobin."

 

 

 

9.20AM NUMBER OF DESTROYED HOMES EXPECTED TO CLIMB

More than 100 homes have been destroyed but RFS commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told the ABC this is just a preliminary figure with crews still unable to access large parts of the affected areas.

"We are expecting that number to climb and we need to prepare ourselves for that number to climb potentially quite significantly because there's lots of fire grounds," he said.

"We simply haven't been able to get people in to undertake even an initial assessment."

The commissioner said other infrastructure has been destroyed, including a school.

Meanwhile, it is too early to identify the remains of the body found in a burnt out car in Kangawalla.

"Clearly that's very distressing and our thoughts and prayers are to all of those that are affected and particularly the family and loved ones of the occupant of this vehicle," Mr Fitzsimmons said.

"That matter will now be managed by the police and a more forensic identification process will be undertaken to confirm exactly who has been located."

 

 

There were still 77 bush or grass fires burning in NSW with 42 uncontained on Saturday morning, the fire service said.

Mr Fitzsimmons said the blazes they battled on Friday - at one point fighting 99 fires, a record 17 of which were at emergency level all at once - had them in "uncharted territory", with seasoned firefighters of some 60 years experience saying they had never seen such conditions.

 

 

 

8.20AM ONE PERSON CONFIRMED DEAD

The remains of a person have been located by crews from the NSW RFS at the Kangawalla fire, near Glen Innes.

Two people remain unaccounted for.

 

 

The remote and sporadic nature of the multiple fires have made rescue and battle efforts extremely difficult, the NSW RFS told ABC.

"(There is) significant damage and destruction to isolated rural communities, villages and towns," the spokesman said.

"Early estimates from the field are that at least 100 homes have been destroyed."



Elliot calls for Provest’s resignation following brutal critique

premium_icon Elliot calls for Provest’s resignation following brutal...

Richmond MP Justine Elliot has called for the resignation of Nationals state member...

Police looking for alleged Tweed flasher

premium_icon Police looking for alleged Tweed flasher

Police are seeking public's assistance to find an alleged flasher

Mayor calls for alternative to fireworks

premium_icon Mayor calls for alternative to fireworks

Mayor Katie Milne believes fireworks are no longer the best way to celebrate