A Central Queensland man has died while clearing a firebreak on his family’s property south of Emerald, as the state marks the start of summer with an ongoing bushfire crisis.
George Bird, 21, appeared to have been trying to cut down a tree with a chainsaw, when it fell and trapped him.
Police say emergency services were called to the Rolleston property at 7.30pm on Friday.
Three other men on the site tried desperately to rescue Mr Bird, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Queensland premier has extended her sympathies to Mr Bird’s family, saying the tragedy highlights the serious danger the bushfires present.
Annastacia Palaszczuk visited the command centre at Finch Hatton, west of Mackay, on Saturday, to thank frontline emergency services, volunteers and affected community members.
She urged communities to prepare for worsening conditions.
“Tomorrow we again will be facing a heatwave. It will impact right across the state. We have the strong winds that pick up in the afternoon. We want to make sure people get accurate information as quickly as possible.”
Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack, who was visiting Miriam Vale near Gladstone, described the bushfire situation as “very very trying times”.
“We stand ready as a Commonwealth to do whatever we can to enact any measures that we need to to help in these efforts.
“They are the worst of times, but we are seeing the very, very best of people.”
With more than 100 bushfires still burning, authorities are concerned by the forecast temperatures which are expected to build over the next four to five days.
After almost a week of severe fire danger, QFES Commissioner Katarina Carroll says the difficult and challenging conditions will persist.
“We are not out of the woods,” she said.
“We’ve got a heatwave still with us for the next four days. We’ve got thunderstorms that interfere with how the fire spreads …We have never seen this in our state before.”
Police say they have found no evidence of arson involved in these fires, many of which were sparked in extreme heatwave conditions.
But two men have been arrested for allegedly attempting to start fires near Rockhampton in two separate incidents on Thursday and Friday.