Bruce Hwy reopens after smoke haze causes chaos
UPDATE 6AM: A small amount of smoke is visible on the Bruce Hwy the morning after a bushfire ripped through forest and closed the highway.
Drivers making the morning commute should take care around the Bells Creek area, and drive to conditions.
UPDATE: The Bruce Hwy has reopened after smoke closed the road for hours as a bushfire burned to the west of the road.
Fire crews from the QRFS, QFES and the owners of the forest - HQ Plantations - are expected to work to contain the blaze throughout the night.
EARLIER: A FIRE in pine forests to the south of the Sunshine Coast is set to cause problems for both emergency services and commuters - well into the night.
Presently northbound lanes of the Bruce Hwy remain closed and traffic is being diverted onto Steve Irwin Way although reports say that option is equally congested.
A spokeswoman from the Queensland Police Service said the Bruce Hwy is now closed at the Steve Irwin Way intersection - just south of Beerburrum.
Northbound traffic is now being diverted up the Steve Irwin Way, while southbound lanes are getting a clear run.
Earlier the highway was closed at Roys Rd, which is well north of the Steve Irwin Way intersection and as such some traffic was left trapped at the blockade near Roys Rd
Those cars are now being turned around and sent south where they will be able to drive back up the Steve Irwin Way.
A spokeswoman from the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service said it is likely the smoke from the fire will continue to be an issue, at least throughout tonight and possibly even tomorrow morning.
She said there were 20 Rural Fire Service crews on the scene as well as three urban fire fighting units.
The owners of the pine forest involved - HQ Plantations - was earlier undertaking aerial water-bombing using its own resources however that has been called off now that it is dark.
"It is likely that smoke will continue to be a problem in the area for quite some time," the spokeswoman said.
"Residents in Beerwah, Beerburrum and Glass House Mountains may notice some smoke in the area into the night.
"If affected, residents should close windows and doors, and keep medications close by if suffering a respiratory condition."
The fire is also posing problems for commuters who are facing massive congestion as they try to make thier way back to the Sunshine Coast from Brisbane.
No property is presently under threat.
EARLIER: NORTHBOUND lanes of the Bruce Hwy remain closed as a fire burns through pine forests to the south of the Sunshine Coast.
The road closure is presenting a nightmare for commuters trying to return home from Brisbane.
A spokeswoman from Queensland Police said traffic was presently backed up from Roys Rd and the option of turning cars trapped at the roadblock around and sending them back towards Johnstone Rd - about 10 kilometres south - was being considered.
At this stage anyone trying to make the trip north is advised to take Steve Irwin Way.
EARLIER: A BUSHFIRE in the pine forest at Roys Rd has forced the closure of the Bruce Highway, creating a nightmare for commuters returning to the Sunshine Coast.
Motorists report diversions are in place at Bells Creek.
Unconfirmed reports said a water-bombing helicopter had been brought in to fight the blaze.
EARLIER: FIREFIGHTERS are on the scene of a large blaze which has broken out in the pine forest south of the Sunshine Coast.
Motorists are reporting a large plume of smoke coming from the forest, west of the highway about a kilometre north of Roys Rd.
A Queensland Fire and Emergency Services spokesperson said crews were still assessing the extent of the blaze which had first been reported at 2.34pm and appeared to be "a fair size".
The smoke is affecting visibility on the highway and she warned motorists to slow down and drive carefully through the area.