Fire jumps the Molonglo: people told it’s too late to flee

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The Pialligo fire early this morning. Photo: Andrew Campbell.

PEOPLE in Beard, Oaks Estate and West Queanbeyan (including Crestwood) have been told it’s too late to leave and that the Pialligo Redwood Forest fire poses a threat to all lives in its path.

The fire has crossed the Molonglo River near Beard.

In the wild, hot weather firefighters have lost control over the blaze that started yesterday, but by last night they had managed to control.

The ESA has issued an “emergency” level warning and advises people to “seek shelter immediately”.

They say it is now too late to leave: “If you are not in the area, do not return.”

“People in these suburbs are in danger and need to seek immediate shelter as the fire approaches.

“Driving now is extremely dangerous and potentially deadly.

“People in streets north of Uriarra Road should leave now towards David Campese Oval if safe to do so.

“Fire crews may not be able to protect you and your property. Do not expect a firefighter at your door: seek shelter now.

“People in the area will be affected by thick smoke and embers, which will reduce visibility and air quality. As the fire approaches, it will be difficult for you to see, hear and breathe. You will experience intense heat, darkness and loud noise.

“Call Triple Zero (000) if your life is under immediate threat.”

What you should do:

>Switch off the gas and air-conditioning
>Close windows and doors, sealing the gaps under doors and screens with wet towels to keep smoke out of the house
>Fill containers such as your bath, sinks, and buckets with water so you have access to drinking and firefighting water
>Identify a safe spot to shelter in, which should be a place with more than one exit, away from windows and doors. The safest spot is the place that will keep you furthest away from the intense heat from the fire
>Be aware of the location of the fire as it passes your house. Once the fire has passed, use your water supplies to put out spot fires
>Listen to local radio

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