"It is pretty scary' - Māori resident sees smoke from her home in raging Aus bush fires

By Jessica Tyson

Residents in southern Queensland and parts of New South Wales are being urged to either leave their homes or stay vigilant after a number of fires have burned out of control.

According to 9 News, around 500 firefighters have been working to protect homes and control more than 65 fires.

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services announced during a press conference on Saturday morning that 17 homes have been destroyed.

Hydee Ngaia-Tyson, of Te Atihaunui-a-Pāpārangi, lives with her partner at their home, located around 60km away from a fire burning at Mount Tambourine in Queensland.

She says she can see the smoke from her home.

“It is pretty scary in all honesty purely because it’s quite windy at the moment. Anything can happen when it’s windy over here. It just pulls that fire closer, and in my eyes it kind of makes the firefighters feel like they don’t really have control over the fire that they wish they did.”

Local news reported that a firefighter is fighting for his life after suffering serious burns on Friday.

Ngaia-Tyson says despite the fires, she feels safe since her home is surrounded by industrial buildings, away from any bush.

She also says authorities are keeping residents well informed.

“Social media platforms have been pretty good with advising people what to do, where to go, what you need.”

According to the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, the worst is not over yet, with serious conditions forecast over the weekend. Fires are also expected to burn for weeks.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO:

• Listen to your local radio station or visit the Rural Fire Service (RFS) website for regular updates.
• If you have a bushfire survival plan, refer to it now and be 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 the situation changes.
• 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.
• Consider finding your essential items (e.g., identification documents, prescription medication, food and water, and protective clothing such as a long-sleeved cotton shirt and trousers, and boots) in case you need to leave.
• Consider what you will do to protect your pets and livestock.
• Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
• Advise family and friends of your intended actions if the situation changes.