Queensland fires flare as winds pick up

Fire conditions in Queensland remain grim.
Fire conditions in Queensland remain grim.

Residents west of Brisbane are in for a sleepless night after being told to evacuate due to two large out of control bushfires bearing down on rural communities in the Scenic Rim and Darling Downs.

An emergency warning has been issued for a blaze at Ravensbourne and Esk, near Toowoomba, which is part of the Pechey fire responsible for blackening 4200 hectares in the past five days.

Ravensbourne Escape manager Rob Clarke says the fire is moving away from the tiny enclave of 50 homes but got within three kilometres earlier on Sunday.

"It's going towards Esk now ... hopefully, the winds tonight will turn easterly, south-easterly, which will blow the smoke and embers away from us," he told AAP.

"It's pretty dark; it's like a big dark thunder cloud of smoke blocking out the light."

Earlier, Toowoomba mayor Paul Antonio said the situation deteriorated drastically mid-afternoon despite a large Boeing 737 air tanker capable of dumping 15,000 litres in one go, joining the fight.

"This (was) a very difficult situation ... The wind (at my farm was) strong enough to rock my car," he said.

Winds increased steadily throughout the afternoon, with gusts of 59km/h recorded by the Bureau of Meteorology.

The fire, which is advancing to the north, east and southeast, extends along Perseverance Dam, Mount Jockey, Horrex, Garvey, Purtill and McQuillan roads.

Mr Antonio said about 200 firefighters and 16 aircraft were battling the blaze along a 38 km front.

About 100 kilometres south, residents at Tarome were also told late on Sunday night an unpredictable fire was heading east towards them and they needed to leave.

The order affected those in Ryan, Hinrichsen, Simmonds, Campsite and McGuire roads.

Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen fears only rain will stop the fires there but there is little forecast.

"Everyone needs to be on their toes," he said.

"At the moment these fires will still be running next weekend."

Across the state, 92 fires are burning but those of most concern are the ones at Pechey, north of Toowoomba, and Moreton Island, off Brisbane, along with those in the Scenic Rim at Mt Barney, Clumber and Tarome.

Moreton Island campers were told to evacuate ahead of an expected wind change with the potential to render the blaze unpredictable during Sunday evening.

Emergency services warned campsites could be threatened before nightfall.

Earlier, severe thunderstorms dumped rain and hailstones north of Brisbane but had little impact on the fires to the south, according to the weather department.

Hail the size of cricket balls was reported in the Glasshouse Mountains in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, meteorologist Rosa Hoff said.

Australian Associated Press