Qld drivers warned against travel to NSW

RACQ has told Queenslanders not to make any unnecessary travel over the border as authorities declared New South Wales (NSW) a state of emergency in grave bushfire conditions.

Image: Herald Sun 

The Guardian reported the declaration, which would remain in place for seven days, meant emergency services had the power to close and open roads at will, forcibly evacuate members of the public and shutdown essential utilities including electricity, gas, oil and water.

RACQ spokesperson Lauren Ritchie said it was critical Queenslanders reassessed their need to drive interstate with widespread bushfires to cause serious safety issues.

“Our NSW neighbours are currently in crisis mode and now isn’t the time to be on the road with bushfire conditions set to worsen in coming days,” Ms Ritchie said.

“As residents continue to be evacuated, the roads are already likely to be busy so we need everyone else to help free them up by reconsidering their travel plans and delaying their trips.

“The conditions on the ground are also rapidly evolving, so while your travel route may look clear for now, that could quickly change.”

Ms Ritchie said it was imperative drivers took precautions if travel was unavoidable.

“Make your vehicle visible to others on the road by switching your headlights on and ensure you turn your air conditioner to recirculate to reduce the risk of smoke inhalation,” she said. 

“If you come across a bushfire, find a suitable place to park away from vegetation and if possible, position your car behind a natural barrier like a rocky outcrop.

“Unless there's a well-protected building nearby, you should stay inside your car as it offers the best level of protection from the heat.

“But we don’t want drivers to be in this situation in the first place, please heed the warnings by emergency services.

“Stay across the latest information and cooperate with the instructions of authorities – they know best.”

The latest NSW bushfire warnings, advice and road closures could be found on the NSW Rural Fire Service and RACQ’s Road Conditions website.