Storms could bring cruel fire twist
THUNDERSTORMS hitting central Queensland and the Bundaberg region are likely to hinder firefighting efforts rather than help.
Bureau of Meteorology spokesman Richard Wardle said potential storms could complicate firefighting activity due to their variable gusty winds.
"Thunderstorms are forecast for the Wide Bay and Burnett region, but as far north as Charters Towers," he said.
"We expect damaging to destructive winds, large to giant hail and heavy rainfall."
As of last night, more than 10,000 homes in Mareeba and Atherton were without power due to storms.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Katarina Carroll said while rain would help control fires, winds could make it dangerous for crews on the ground.
There was also the chance of flash flooding and landslides due to the burnt terrain, she said.
The thunderstorms are not a result of Tropical Cyclone Owen, sitting 1000km east off the coast of Cairns. The cyclone is expected to weaken to a Category-1 by lunchtime on Wednesday.
Mr Wardle said that rain from the remnants of Owen could hit anywhere from Fraser Island to Cape York.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday praised efforts that saw fires on Stradbroke Island improve.
"Things at Stradbroke are looking OK … we're keeping a close watching eye on a number of these bushfires right across the state," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"Things are improving ... (but) I ask everyone to still keep listening to authorities."
Fire crews are expected to ramp up damage assessment tomorrow and start communicating recovery plans for affected residents.
Emergency services are warning residents who have evacuated not to return home until it is safe.
Mackay Regional Council mayor Greg Williamson said the weather conditions were more favourable yesterday.
The council believes 110,000ha have been burnt in the area, including agriculture land, one home and three sheds.
Out of the 111 fires in Queensland yesterday, 11 were in the Mackay region.
"They are contained, not quite under control," Mr Williamson said.
Recovery hubs have been set up in Mackay, Mirani and Sarina.
Mr Williamson said the cost to the community was unknown "until we get the assessment of what the effect is going to be on the agricultural community, until we get the assessment of stock losses ... but we know there is crop losses and even cane farms." .
"I couldn't be more proud of the community that we live in, there is so many people that have come together," he said.
Emergency hardship grants are available to affected residents in Campwin Beach, Crediton, Eungella, Dalrymple Heights, Finch Hatton, Netherdale and Sarina Beach.