Crews continue to battle fire and prepare for back burning
UPDATE: Five fire crews continue to battle a large grass fire burning near Grantham.
Burning in the Lockyer State Forest off Wallers Rd, Grantham, more crews are responding to the blaze, which has been burning since 1pm on Sunday.
Fire crews are monitoring the fire and preparing for back burning operations, which will occur later this afternoon between Sandy Creek Road, Grantham and Seventeen Mile Road Helidon, with containment lines being strengthened on Seventeen Mile Road.
Twenty-two crews are continuing with back burning, blackening and patrolling operations between Redbank Plains and Greenbank.
The two separate fires are now being treated as one and crews remain vigilant after yesterday's difficult conditions.
Fires across the region remain under control after crews fought to maintain control of them overnight.
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TUESDAY, 9PM: The region's firefighting resources were pushed to their limits on Tuesday as strong winds and a bone-dry landscape combined to form a ring of fire around Ipswich.
Already blanketed by smoke from a large bushfire at Springfield on Monday night, Redbank Plains residents were placed on fire alert on Tuesday afternoon when yet another fire broke out near School Rd.
The fire forced the evacuation of Staines Memorial College just after 2pm, as five fire trucks, two water-bombing helicopters and dozens of firefighters moved in to attempt to control the situation.
The fire was under control and the alert for the area cancelled about 4.30pm on Tuesday, with police also reopening the closed Centenary Highway.
Staines Memorial College principal Norton Sands said he'd been in constant contact with authorities throughout the day.
"We received advice to evacuate the school at 2.10pm, and the first bus left at 2.12pm," he said.
The students were evacuated to Grace Christian Church, further up School Rd.
Mountview estate resident Helen Uncles said residents were concerned about the Staines students, as well as for themselves.
"We don't know anything about what's happening with this fire, we've checked the QPS Facebook page, but haven't heard much," she said.
Urban and rural units from all over the region were pooled to help battle fires at Laidley, Grantham, Esk and Greenbank.
QFRS rural operations manager Corey Bock said firefighters were being used in shifts so that the more serious fires could be monitored around the clock.
"A lot of the crews are starting to get very tired," he said.
"The strong winds have definitely caused a lot of our problems. Just trying to hold the fires where they are will be challenging."
A fire that started in bushland west of Laidley-Plainland Rd, between College Rd and Waddington Pde, just after midday on Tuesday, was pushed toward houses by a gusty south-easterly wind.
Three urban crews and several rural crews rushed onto properties along Waddington Pde, Laidley, in an urgent effort to keep the fire away from houses.
Local resident Keith Sweeney was full of praise for the firefighters, who intervened after the flames came within 20m of his back door.
"I got up to look out the window just after 12 and noticed that I couldn't see a thing,' Mr Sweeney said.
"The next thing I knew, one of the firies walked around the back of the house and they were keeping the fire away."
The fire burned through about 20ha before it was brought under control.
Meanwhile, another large grassfire threatened homes in Grantham. Disturbingly, authorities believe the fire was deliberately lit.
Queensland Parks and Wildlife senior ranger Peter Cavendish said there were multiple ignition points on either side of Wallers Rd, which bisects Lockyer National Park.
Firefighters had secured four homes on 17 Mile Rd and one on Sandy Creek Rd by late on Tuesday. However, seven remained under immediate threat.
- Residents in bushfire-affected areas are urged to monitor their properties and, if they believe their home is under threat, to phone 000 immediately
- Residents in these areas are advised to keep their doors and windows closed and, if they are susceptible to respiratory illnesses, to keep their medication close by
- Regular updated information will be provided on the QFRS website at ruralfire.qld.gov.au or at fire.qld.gov.au
Additional reporting by Rebecca Lynch, Geoff Egan and Rose Hamilton-Barr