An eerie dust haze, whipped up by a trough passing through the Channel Country on Tuesday, was set to add to the misery of those fighting bushfires in central Queensland on Wednesday.
Bureau of Meterology duty forecaster, Adam Woods, said the dust, visible on satellite pictures, had reduced visibility at Charleville airport at 7.30am to 1000 metres.
It was expected to be more of a light haze by the time it reached southern Queensland and to clear on Thursday, but was being driven by the same winds that were increasing the extreme fire risk.
“Let’s hope we can get through today safely,” Mr Woods said.
“It’s quite unusual to see strong westerlies like this – it’s more typical of southern states. It could even be unprecedented.”
Yaraka’s Bob Long, who works as a mail contractor, said visibility on the mail run to Jundah on Tuesday was down to around 100 metres through Welford National Park.
Aramac has experienced similar conditions at times over the past week – Annie Murphy, at Everton, photographed the howling gale flinging fine red dust through the air last Wednesday.
“We had the same on Sunday, and today it’s more of an overall haze,” she said. “I’d just cleaned the house too.”
Annie said the last time she’d seen so much dust was when they were living at Eastmere, also in the Aramac district, in 2002, another severe drought year.
The Murphys have recorded just 80mm of rain this year, much of it falling in ineffectual 5 and 10mm falls.
They’ve sent fat cows to the Blackall sale on Thursday, including Annie’s poddy, that have been receiving hay at $15,000 a truckload.