Fire crews keep a watch on the Woodgate fire from the Burrum Heads boat ramp.
Fire crews keep a watch on the Woodgate fire from the Burrum Heads boat ramp. Alistair Brightman

DARKEST TIME: Fireys watch over Fraser Coast in hour of need

A MONSTER fire tearing through the Woodgate region could be seen from the banks of the Burrum Heads beach as it threatened lives and homes.

By sunset as the fire, which broke out before 9.30am yesterday, had become so ferocious that authorities predicted the unthinkable- modelling showed the fire could jump the Burrum River.

The 500 residents of Burrum Heads were on high alert into the evening as the Queensland Premier told ABC radio Queensland Fire and Emergency Services were "quite concerned" about the fire.

Annastacia Palaszczuk urged the residents of both Buxton and Burrum Heads to stay informed across the night should the need to leave arise.

"I would urge everyone in Buxton and Burrum Heads to listen to the authorities.

"We have predicted modelling maps here and to date they have proven to be highly accurate. That means the fire has travelled in the direction which has been predicted but also to those embers that go ahead and can ignite property.

"We want everyone to be calm but if you are asked to leave please do so in an orderly fashion but please do not hesitate either because your family's life is just so important, your life is very important.

"If you need to take your pets, take your pets with you and a few personal belongings.

"We are sending more crews there as we speak and trying to get more aircraft," she said.

In preparation fire crews were sent to the northern corners of the Fraser Coast where they were on standby in case the bushfire advanced.

Speaking to the Chronicle from the Burrum Heads boat ramp, locals had gathered to watch the smoke billowing across the water from the Woodgate bushland.

Mark Tracey, who has lived in Burrum Heads for a year, said the smoke in the area had transformed the normally picturesque landscape.

"I've never seen anything like it.

"My neighbours who have been here for seven years said they had never seen anything like it," he said.

"The wind is crazy, I hope it doesn't jump the river.

"We hope everything goes well and all our emergency services stay safe."

The smoke which had created an eerie atmosphere during the day at night turned to an ominous sign of foreboding for Burrum Heads residents who had not yet received advice to leave at the time of publication, while their neighbours in Buxton were evacuated.

The fire was last travelling in a southerly direction.

Rolling up-to-date coverage can be found on the Chronicle website.



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