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Heatwave in Queensland remains on high alert amidst mass evacuations

Staff Writer |
Hot and dry weather is forecast to damaging bushfires that have hit large swathes of Australia's Queensland state in the past week, with authorities warning residents to remain on high alert amid mass evacuations of those affected.

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More than 100 fires continue to blaze across the Queensland state, with at least one major community told to evacuate and four others at risk, local media reported on Friday.

"Our danger time is in the afternoon when the heat picks up, so we really need all of our residents across Queensland, especially from that central region heading north to make sure they have the radio close by. They're watching television because if we ask you to leave, you will need to leave very, very quickly," the ABC news channel quoted the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk as saying.

According to the state premier, about seven key fires remained of particular concern and it was a huge job with five more days of intense weather.

More than 15 properties have been destroyed in the record six-day bushfire emergency, with firefighters battling up to 200 blazes, according to the channel. An additional 100 firefighters from neighboring New South Wales state and the Australian Capital Territory are being deployed to help fight the flames, the channel said.

The fire risk was set to remain in the very high to severe range across the state's central and northern regions for some time, according to weather authorities.

"We've got severe to extreme heatwave conditions, still persisting along the coastal strip of north Queensland. Those conditions are expected to spread southward along the coast, and westward to north-west Queensland," Bureau of Meteorology state manager Bruce Gunn told the channel.

Temperatures in excess of 45 degree Celsius were forecast for the affected Longreach area alone toward the weekend, with the heatwave expected to head southeast by Monday.

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