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Bushfires update: losses climb past $13 million as claims pour in

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Losses from the NSW and Queensland bushfires have risen to about $13.5 million and are set to increase in coming days as more claims are lodged.

Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) Head of Risk & Operations Karl Sullivan says insurers have so far received almost 100 claims.

Up to 70 bushfires have been reported across southern Queensland and another 70 in NSW, fanned by high winds that have caused multiple property losses, according to the ICA DataGlobe hazards website.

The council has declared the bushfires a catastrophe, meaning insurers will co-ordinate their response through an industry taskforce and work with government agencies, emergency services and community organisations to identify and resolve issues.

The Queensland fires have damaged eight homes in Sarabah, three at Applethorpe and Stanthorpe and one in Biboohra, and damage assessments are underway in Peregian Springs.

The Bureau of Meteorology says on its Twitter feed that it expects smoke and fire to continue to plague the southern and central areas of the state.

Fire dangers tomorrow and on Thursday will be “high” and are expected to worsen to “very high” on Friday and Saturday as temperatures rise.

In NSW, the Drake area has seen four homes destroyed, four outbuildings destroyed and a similar number damaged. In Tenterfield, 15 outbuildings have been destroyed and 10 have suffered damage. Another three facilities were destroyed and three homes were damaged.

The NSW Rural Fire Service’s latest update today says nine homes are confirmed destroyed in Drake, Tenterfield and Lidsdale. Its impact assessment teams are still on the ground to determine the scale of the damage.

More than 220 homes in the immediate area of the fires have been saved, the service says.