National News

Air quality plunges as Queensland burns

A quarter of a Queensland shire has already been burnt in a ongoing bushfire the mayor says is an "unprecedented disaster".

Livingstone Mayor Bill Ludwig says it is close to a miracle that no lives have been lost.

The still-to-be controlled bushfire at Cobraball, southwest of Yeppoon in central Queensland destroyed eight homes and damaged five overnight.

Farm sheds and other structures have also been lost, as about 11,000 hectares of land have been blackened by the blaze.

The fire had been uncontrollable as it ravaged through the area in 50km/h winds and tinder-dry conditions, Mr Ludwig told AAP.

"It got to the point where firefighters had to just focus on getting people out and then return to save houses where they could," he said.

About 65 per cent of the fire had been contained but fire breaks were expected to slow the progress of the blaze.

"It will be a number of days before we believe we will have safe containment," he said.

Conditions are expected to worsen on Tuesday, with high and very high fire danger forecast for most of Queensland.

The situation will be even worse on the Darling Downs and Granite Belt, where severe conditions are expected in a region still recovering from severe fires in September.

By Wednesday, the Wide Bay-Burnett and Southeast Coast regions will also be under a severe fire danger warning.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Vince Rowlands said hot, dry and windy conditions were expected to peak on Wednesday followed by a slight reprieve before picking up again at the weekend.

Winds could reach 40km/h during the next couple of days, bringing "tricky conditions" for bushfires as the winds change direction.

Temperatures in some parts of southeast Queensland could be 6C-10C above average.

Mr Rowlands said Brisbane had "pretty poor air quality" due to smoke from Queensland and NSW fires.

"We are not likely to see a complete removal of the smoke haze over the next few days," he said.

No significant rain is forecast for the next week and long-term predictions are for drier and warmer than average conditions.

Health authorities are urging people to avoid time outdoors as the haze from the fires pushes air quality to very poor levels, including in the state's heavily populated southeast.

There are 65 fires burning statewide, including a blaze at Lower Beechmont in the Gold Coast hinterland that has left three homes damaged.

A home was also destroyed in the Cooroibah fire, which also continues to burn on the Sunshine Coast.

On Monday afternoon, air quality was at the lowest possible rating of very poor in Brisbane, Ipswich and on the Gold Coast as well as in Gladstone, Moranbah, Mackay and Townsville.

People with respiratory conditions have been told to stay inside, with Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young saying people should not go out unless necessary.

Trying conditions are expected to persist for the next 24 to 48 hours.

© AAP 2019