Residents Ordered To Flee As Queensland Fires Escalate
Queensland's bushfire crisis is far from over with Sunshine Coast communities under siege from an out-of-control blaze, as more than 70 fires burn around the state.
Police have declared a bushfire emergency situation at Peregian Beach, with at least 10 homes in the area lost on Monday night, according to the ABC and News Corp.
As of 4.20am on Tuesday, the fast-moving bushfire was travelling north-northeast from Emu Mountain Rd towards Peregian Beach and Peregian Breeze Estate.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services say leaving immediately is the safest option.
"The fire is expected to have a significant impact on the community," QFES said.
Peregian Beach residents have been told to evacuate towards Noosa while those in Peregian Breeze Estate are advised to head for Noosa or Noosaville.
Evacuation centres have opened at the Cooroy Library, the Noosa Leisure Centre at Noosaville, the Multi Sport Centre at Maroochydore and the Nambour Showgrounds.
Residents of Weyba, Weyba Downs, Peregian Springs, Castaways Beach and Marcus Beach have been told to be ready to leave the area.
"There is two kilometres spotting of this fire and we have a significant amount of houses that have been breached by fire," Queensland Fire and Emergency Services north coast chief superintendent Michelle Young told ABC.
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Photographer Lachie Millard, of Peregian Beach, said he evacuated his toddler and dog to Noosa before returning for precious possessions.
"It was just black smoke coming straight for our house and for our street," he told The Courier-Mail.
Peregian Springs State School and Coolum State High School will be closed on Tuesday.
Elsewhere, Numbinah Valley, Canungra and St Bernard state schools and the Numinbah Environmental Education Centre will also be closed on Tuesday.
The already closed Beechmont State School will remain shut, Education Minister Grace Grace said in a statement on Monday night.
"These schools are in the danger zone associated with the Sarabah Valley fires, with worsening conditions expected overnight and very thick smoke through the valley tomorrow," Grace said.
Strong winds were expected to increase from midnight - potentially causing fire to intensify and spread quickly.
At the Lamington National Park in the Gold Coast hinterland, about 100 police, guests and staff who sought shelter from fires at O'Reilly's Guest House at Canungra were safely evacuated on Monday night.
QFES downgraded their alert for the O'Reilly area just before midnight on Monday, saying properties were not under direct threat.
And residents of Ballandean, south of Stanthorpe, were told just after midnight they could return home after earlier being told to evacuate.
A larger fire at Stanthorpe and Applethorpe remains under control.
Earlier on Monday some Gold Coast hinterland residents were allowed to return to their homes, though a number of properties had been burnt to the ground.
More have been damaged but the full extent remains unknown, with residents and livestock displaced.
"All of the grass cover, such as it was, is now gone and there is no prognosis of any rain before Christmas," Scenic Rim mayor Greg Christensen said.
"We now have to deal with a secondary issue of new locations for people to house that stock."
An RSPCA vet will also arrive in the area on Monday to help treat injured animals.
Featured image: AAP