Gracemere has been blanketed in smoke from a number of fires near Stanwell and Kabra.
Gracemere has been blanketed in smoke from a number of fires near Stanwell and Kabra. Vanessa Jarrett

GRACEMERE: Roads re-open, residents allowed home

5.50am: GRACEMERE residents can return to their homes after the emergency evacuation order was cancelled a short  time ago,  but the danger for the  region is not over.

 Police are reopening the roads into Gracemere as of 5.45am but Rockhampton Region Mayor Margaret Strelow urged people to take care and not to rush due to the high  volume of anticipated traffic. 

 "It's not over yet," she  said at 5.45am.

 "Catastrophic is over for us. Heat will be an issue but the fire danger isn't over.   Stay alert."  

No homes were lost at Gracemere.

 There has been some  damage to structures at Kabra and Stanwell but details are still sketchy as to whether any homes have been lost.

A top of 38 degrees is predicted in Rockhampton, with winds southwesterly 15 to 20 km/h becoming light in the evening.

11.10pm: FIREFIGHTERS now fear a bushfire will hit the Gracemere township overnight. 

They advise the slow-moving bushfire is travelling in an easterly direction towards the town and conditions could get worse. 

"For residents who previously evacuated, it is not safe to return to the area," an alert says.

"You need to be ready to follow your bushfire survival plan.

"If you do not have a plan, or intend to leave, you should be ready to leave the area because the situation could get worse quickly.

"Firefighters will be working overnight to prevent the fire spreading, but it may impact the Gracemere township.

"Firefighters may not be able to protect every property. You should not expect a firefighter at your door.

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

An evacuation centre has been opened at the Rockhampton Showgrounds at Wandal.

Residents who wish to evacuate should travel in an easterly direction along the Capricorn Highway to the Showgrounds or a friend/family member's property if it is safe to do so.

Call Triple Zero (000) immediately if you believe your property is under threat.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO:
• Listen to your local radio station or visit the Rural Fire Service website for regular updates.
• If you have a bushfire survival plan, finalise it now so you are ready to follow it.
• If you do not have a bushfire survival plan, or if your plan is to leave, identify where you will go if you leave the area.
• Advise family and friends of your plan.
• Close windows and doors to minimise smoke exposure.
• If you suffer from a respiratory condition, keep your medication close by.
• Drive with caution in low visibility conditions.
• Contact your neighbours to see if they need help preparing for the bushfire.
• Pack important documents and essential items (e.g., passports, birth certificates, prescription medication, food and water, and protective clothing) in case you need to leave the area.
• Put on protective clothing (e.g., a long-sleeved cotton shirt, boots with thick soles).
• Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
• Bring pets inside; restrain them with a leash, a cage, or inside a secure room; and provide them with plenty of water.
• Take action to protect your livestock.
• Move flammable materials such as doormats, wheelie bins, and outdoor furniture away from your house.
• Fill containers such as your bath, sinks, and buckets with water so you have access to drinking water and firefighting water.
• Close windows and doors, sealing the gaps under doors and screens with wet towels to keep smoke out of the house.

KEEP UP TO DATE BY:
• Following QFES on Facebook (@QldFireandRescueService) and Twitter (@QldFES)
• Staying tuned to your local radio station. Find your local ABC radio station at https://radio.abc.net.au/help/offline
• Visiting the Rural Fire Service website at www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au/map

FURTHER INFORMATION:
• For bushfire preparation tips, visit the RFS website: www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au/BushFire_Safety
• For information about road closures, phone 13 19 40 or visit www.qldtraffic.qld.gov.au

9PM: KABRA and Gracemere residents are again being told to leave their properties as a large bushfire approaches the towns.

The fire, formally the Stanwell fire, has crossed the highway and is approaching Gracemere and Kabra.

"The fire has crossed the Capricorn Highway near Morgan Street, Wiseman Street, Somerset Road and Moonmera Street, Kabra," the warning read.  

"Structures near Morgan Street, Wiseman Street, Somerset Road, and Moonmera Street, Kabra are now under threat. Evacuate immediately if it is safe to do so.   

"All residents at Kabra, Gracemere and surrounds should evacuate in an easterly direction along the Capricorn Highway to the Rockhampton Showgrounds at Wandal, or a friend/family member's property if it is safe to do so.  

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services are urging residents to leave now as this is the safest option.

5.15PM: HOMES have been impacted by fire at Kabra, according to Queensland Fire and Emergency Services. 

Brian Smith, from QFES, said aerial support was being used to fight the fires. 

He said there had been reports of fires spotting in the township of Mount Larcom and two people had suffered minor injuries. 

The Stanwell/Kabra fire has jumped the Capricorn Hwy at Middle Creek and is moving towards Gracemere in a south-easterly direction. 

3PM: GRACEMERE residents are being urged to evacuate to Rockhampton with Stanwell and Kabra fires impacting the region.

A leave immediately warning has been issued for Stanwell.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has tweeted that the fire is impacting Gracemere and residents should go to the Rockhampton Showgrounds.

Up to 8000 people have been told to leave.

The fire is burning at Neerkol Rd, Stanwell.

Advice from QFES:

Leaving immediately is the safest option, as it will soon be too dangerous to drive.

Follow your bushfire survival plan now. If you do not have a plan, your safest option is to leave immediately if it is clear to do so.

If you cannot leave, identify where you will seek shelter from the bushfire. If you are not in the area, do not return, as conditions are too dangerous.

Currently at 3pm, a large, fast-moving fire is travelling in an easterly direction along the Capricorn Highway from Stanwell towards Kabra, Gracemere and surrounding areas. It is expected to impact the townships of Kabra, Gracemere and surrounds in the coming hours.

The fire is expected to have a significant impact on the community.

All residents at Kabra, Gracemere and surrounds should evacuate in an easterly direction along the Capricorn Highway to the Rockhampton Showgrounds at Wandal if it is safe to do so. If you do not have a safe place to evacuate to, there is an evacuation centre at the Rockhampton Showgrounds.

Conditions are now very dangerous and firefighters may soon be unable to prevent the fire advancing.

The fire may pose a threat to all lives directly in its path. Fire crews may not be able to protect your property. You should not expect a firefighter at your door: act now.

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 will be affected by smoke, which will reduce visibility and air quality.

Call Triple Zero (000) immediately if you believe you are under threat.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO:

. Listen to your local radio station or visit the Rural Fire Service (RFS) website for regular updates.

. Put on protective clothing (e.g., a long-sleeved cotton shirt, boots with thick soles).

. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

. If you suffer from a respiratory condition, keep your medication close by.

If you are leaving:

. Secure your pets for safe transport.

. Check for road closures and then advise family and friends of your intended travel route.

. Take your important documents and essential items (e.g., passports, birth certificates, prescription medication, food and water, and protective clothing) when you leave.

. Drive with caution in low visibility conditions.

If you are unable to leave:

. Bring pets inside; restrain them with a leash, a cage, or inside a secure room; and provide them with plenty of water.

. Fill containers such as your bath, sinks, and buckets with water so you have access to drinking water and firefighting water.

. Close windows and doors, sealing the gaps under doors and screens with wet towels to keep smoke out of the house.

. Identify a safe spot to shelter in, which would be a place with more than one exit, preferably inside a brick building, away from windows and doors. The safest spot is the place that will keep you furthest away from the intense heat from the fire. As the fire approaches and passes, the safest spot will change, so be ready to move.



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