A Queensland valley was turned into a “burning cauldron” by bushfires that have destroyed a house.
But Lockyer Valley Mayor Tanya Milligan says the town of Laidley, 80 kilometres west of Brisbane, is counting its blessings despite fire having torn through about 10,000 hectares.
Just one home was lost to the bushfires whipped up by dry winds.
Cr Milligan, who is yet to find out how bad the fire damage is at her own home, says she’s thankful the region wasn’t hit as hard as locations south of the Queensland border where up to 30 homes were lost.
“It was either a bit of luck or extremely wonderful management — probably a bit of both,” Cr Milligan told AAP.
She was able to view the blackened earth from a Queensland Fire and Emergency Service helicopter on Wednesday afternoon.
“It gives you a difference perspective, up in the air, the drought side of it, and the dry dams … the reality of that,” she said.
“The guys in the helicopter were referring to the area as a burning cauldron yesterday, because of the topography. I came off that chopper shaking my head.”
About 30 fires continue to burn across Queensland on Wednesday as emergency crews hope rains forecast for Friday and Saturday will offer a brief reprieve to the unprecedented start to bushfire season.
“There’s no substantial rain on the horizon for us, it’s just drier and hotter, the rains would be a window of opportunity for people to stop and catch their breath,” Cr Milligan said.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk warned people to make sure they are prepared for bushfires.
“The fire season will continue for many months,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Police are still doing their investigations but there is concern about one of the fires at this stage being deliberately lit,” said Ms Palaszczuk.
She did not say which one.
The Laidley inferno flared up with little warning on Tuesday, catching firefighters by surprise as they were busy attending a fire at nearby Thornton. The Laidley fire burned right up to the fence line in one subdivision and the fierce flames melted a boat and ute in a yard.
At the peak of the fire danger on Tuesday some 120 evacuees were registered at the Laidley evacuation centre.
Fire warnings have been issued for blazes west of Beaudesert and north of Ipswich on Wednesday afternoon.