‘Hiding from police’: Evacuation orders ignored
People are hiding from police so they won't be forced to leave a tiny community at the epicentre of Queensland's bushfire crisis, a local woman says.
Baffle Creek has been threatened by bushfires for almost a week and authorities have repeatedly told all residents they must get out and stay out. Karen Smallmon is among those who listened and left days ago, but she says others are actively hiding from police despite fires raging nearby.
"They're all just dodging the police because if the police catch them they'll escort them out," she told AAP on Thursday, adding she knew of one person who had been escorted out in handcuffs.
"They don't think they're in danger, they think they can see it coming." Around noon on Thursday, three new communities were told they must leave their homes immediately, as flames approached.
People are being moved out of Captain Creek and Winfield, near Baffle Creek. That's also happening at Broken River, inland from Mackay.
Queensland's bushfire crisis is far from over with days of hot, dry conditions ahead.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, police and fire authorities have expressed mounting frustration over some people's refusal to heed evacuation orders. Her annoyance was clear on Thursday when she said "some people are not getting the message", a message that has included very clear warnings that people could burn to death.
Police have been asked for comment about the situation with people who remain in the Baffle Creek area, where fires continue to burn.
More than 100 fires are still burning across the state, as the clock ticks down to mid-afternoon, when blazes commonly flare up.
At Sarina Beach, about 500 kilometres north of Baffle Creek, resident Vicky Crichton did exactly as she was told when she was woken by authorities telling her to evacuate.
"It was so quick, it was. I just opened the door and it was like opening the door to hell," she told the ABC.
"It was just heat and people running up the street and it was just crazy