Australia fires: helicopter crashes as 140 blazes rage in NSW and Queensland – live | Australia news

Queensland is choking on NSW’s bushfire smoke as a southerly change sweeps across the state bringing testing conditions for firefighters.

The southeast corner of the state is shrouded in smoke, with the World Health Quality index showing unhealthy levels of air quality across parts of Queensland.

“We have seen a southerly change move up from NSW and with it bringing more smoke from the NSW fires, so we actually have seen an increase in the smoke haze,” said Rosa Hoff from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Fire danger in the southeast corner continues to trouble authorities as Brisbane swelters in 39C heat with the mercury hitting 40.7C at Amberley near Ipswich.

Scorching dry winds conditions have pushed temperatures up and created challenging conditions for firefighters.

The hot and dry weather that has been sparking and encouraging fires has been unrelenting, but a cool change is expected on Sunday.

“This southerly change means we will see temperatures ease down, however it will still be above average. It is a relief from the severe heatwave conditions, but it still not business as usual.

“Our fire danger ratings will ease back to very high from severe.”

Firefighters are pinning their hopes on that cool change for a desperately needed reprieve.

Of the 45 fires burning across the state, fires at Redbank Creek near Esk, Millmerran on the Darling Downs and Wivenhoe remain at advice levels.

A conservative estimate of 207,000 hectares of land burnt out since the start of the bushfire season is expected to rise, with 22 homes lost.

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