| 10.09,19. 10:50 AM |
Queensland's Sunshine Coast bushfire emergency continues as residents flee fire at Peregian
Ember attack during bushfire on the Sunshine Coast (ABC News)
Police are speaking to a number of teenagers over a fire that has destroyed at least one home and damaged up to 10 at Peregian Beach on Queensland's Sunshine Coast overnight, and continues to burn out of control.
Residents at Peregian Beach, Marcus Beach and Peregian Breeze Estate are being told to leave immediately and for anyone outside the zone to avoid travelling to the area.
Peregian Springs is now at a "watch and act" level and residents being told to prepare to leave.
Peregian Beach residents should evacuate in a northerly direction towards Noosa.
A 737 is expected to fly over the head of the Peregian fire this morning to drop 15,000 litres of fire retardant on the blaze.
A "watch and act" warning is also in place for residents at Weyba, Castaways Beach, Sunrise Beach, Sunshine Beach and Noosa Springs.
The Red Cross set up several evacuation centres overnight, including at Noosa Leisure Centre, with centre coordinator Judith Brady saying the facility housed more than 200 people during the height of the firestorm.
Brian Smith fled his home at Peregian with his wife and pets.
"Our main concern was out pets so we threw our two dogs and two cats in the car and spoke to the people next door so we did the sensible thing and left, like the authorities said to do," he said.
Local teacher Tara-Rose Smith said she had a sleepless night watching videos and images of the fire take hold of the area near her school.
"It's harrowing and heartbreaking watching the road I drive to work every day literally burn, it's very frightening and confronting," she said.
Noosa Local Disaster Co-ordinator Carl Billingham said the fire remained out-of-control and crews were working fast to contain it.
"I believe we've got three fire water bombing helicopters coming in to try and douse the fire where possible and we've got over 70 tenders in attendance of the fire," he said.
Sunshine Coast acting mayor Tim Dwyer said the situation was still "very, very tricky", but residents appear to be heeding the warnings.
"The glow of the flames in the sky last night, the smell of the fire, the look of the angst on the people, the frustration, the uncertainty, you could see it written all over their places. Really trying times," he said.
A number of residents returned home this morning to find their homes were spared, despite the flames coming within metres of them.
Conditions remain dangerous
The Bureau of Meterology's Jonty Hall said conditions remained dangerous despite the dry south-westerly winds dropping slightly.
•Peregian Springs State School
•Coolum State High School
•Linville State School
•Beechmont State School
•Canungra State School
•Ballandean State School
•Pozieres State School
•Glen Aplin State School
•Severnlea State School
•Numinbah Valley Environmental Education Centre
•Numinbah Valley State School
•St Bernard State School
"Still fairly difficult conditions for fire weather around the south-east where we have those major fires," he said.
"So, it's going to be another quite challenging day with that wind direction being slightly different for the last two or three days actually."
Seventy-seven fires are currently burning across the state including blazes at Lower Beechmont and O'Reilly on the Gold Coast, which were both downgraded to "advice" level overnight.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk — who is with Sunshine Coast mayor Mark Jamieson in Switzerland heading a bid for Queensland to host the 2032 Olympic Games — said she would contemplate returning home as the state's bushfire crisis continued.
"It's constantly playing on my mind, it's gut wrenching but my thoughts are with the people at home," she said.
"We do hope everyone is safe and we just pray everything goes well."