Nearly 20 Buildings Destroyed In QLD Fires Still Burning
A vast bushfire that's claimed nearly 20 homes in central Queensland is now bearing down on more.
The fire at Cobraball and Bungundarra -- 14 kilometres long and six kilometres wide -- is racing towards Adelaide Park with people warned just before 10am on Sunday to seek shelter because it is too late to leave.
Terrified people were forced to flee from the fire in cars and on horseback overnight.
Livingstone Shire Council Mayor Bill Ludwig said initial estimates also suggested 16 structures had been damaged or destroyed and more than 6000 hectares of grazing, agricultural and bushland had been burnt.
"Nobody has ever seen anything of this scale or this nature ever in our history, so this is uncharted ground for a lot of us and a huge challenge for our rural firefighters," he told the ABC.
Yeppoon resident John McGrath said the scale and power of the fire reminded him of seeing the 2003 Canberra bushfires that burned 550 houses down.
"I met teenagers in shock as 1km away their house burnt down, and were worried sick for their parents trying to stop it were safe," he posted on Facebook.
There were also unconfirmed rumours of lives lost in the blaze in the Yeppoon hinterland, he wrote in a bid to share the stories of people affected.
"I spoke to a good friend at midnight who, with power cut to the area, was putting out spotfires one bucket a time," he said.
"I heard of someone else using milk, orange juice and any liquid fridge contents to do the same,."
Another of his friends evacuated through a firestorm.
"He said it was the scariest experience of his life," McGrath said.
He saw people flee in cars and on horseback from the "vast and raging" fire.
"At 2.30am people on horse trains slowly rode past on their way to Farnborough School. The school and shop grounds were a village of people and vehicles."
He also helped evacuate as many animals as possible from Cooberrie Park zoo.
"Catching lots of snakes at 1.30am is not an everyday experience," he wrote.
McGrath said he woke up at 6am after three hours sleep to see a very large cumulus smoke cloud behind Yeppoon "which means the fire is still very, very active and scarily dangerous."
The Bureau of Meteorology says conditions will remain difficult for firefighters on Sunday, with hot, dry westerly winds.