Fire crews continue to battle Sunshine Coast bushfire as possible wind change keeps tensions high
Residents in the Sunshine Coast are again being urged to consider evacuating, as a bushfire rages towards homes on Saturday.
The Queensland Fire and Emergency Service said in a Facebook post about 10.15am that Little Mountain residents should finalise their bushfire plans and consider evacuating.
"The large, fast-moving fire is travelling in a south-west to north-easterly direction and is expected to impact the western side of Racecourse Road, the southern side of Caloundra Road and Corbould Racecourse within the next two hours.
"Residents are advised that if their plan is to relocate or they do not have a plan then they are advised to relocate now. Leaving well ahead of a fire is the safest option for survival."
Meanwhile aerial reconnaissance and water-bombing aircraft remained at the scene on Saturday, as an evacuatio n centre reopened for those who wanted to flee.
Residents have returned to their homes overnight as a large bushfire near Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast was brought under control.
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Fire crews worked through the night to create containment lines after up to 30 crews battled the blaze on Friday.
Heavy smoke remained over the region on Saturday morning as fresh reinforcements were called to maintain containment lines with wind changes threatening to creat e fresh flare-ups.
A water-bombing helicopter will also be used throughout Saturday.
A spokesperson for the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service said the evacuation centre used to shelter residents from the community of Aura, closed about 11.30pm on Friday and residents returned to their homes.
"We are asking residents in the area to remain vigilant and keep up to date, but at the moment there are no properties under immediate threat," the spokesperson said.
The fire was expected to continue burning throughout Saturday towards the south of the Caloundra Aerodrome and the west of Golden Beach, according to Sunshine Coast Council. Mayor Mark Jamieson thanked the community for their co-operation.
"The most important outcome is that no injuries have been reported, no properties were damaged, and that the residents who were affected are now home safely," he said.
"Our thanks go to the emergency services for their outstanding w ork today protecting our community."
An emergency declaration made by emergency services about 5pm on Friday was revoked just after 10pm as the fire was brought under control.
By Friday evening, the bushfire had torn through "a couple of hundred hectares" according QFES deputy commissioner Mark Roche.
Mr Roche warned people to stay away from the area and let emergency services do their job, after flames reached the Bruce Highway and Caloundra Road.
"There have been a number of rubber-neckers trying to get into the area for a look, please stay away and let emergency services do their job," he said.
The blaze comes as fire crews warn Queenslanders to prepare for the start of a fresh bushfire season. Firefighters were on high alert as parts of the state brace for abnormally warm temperatures and dry conditions in the coming days.
Very high fire danger levels were expected as a result of the predicted weather condit ions and excess vegetation resulting from the flooding aftermath of Cyclone Debbie.
The rising temperatures and dry conditions forecast for this weekend prompted calls from Emergency Services Minister Mark Ryan for Queenslanders to prepare themselves.
"Our more than 30,000 rural firefighters have been working hard since April putting in firebreaks, completing hazard-reduction burns and running community events to prepare Queenslanders for the 2017 bushfire season," Minister Ryan said.
"We also have two water-bombing aircraft arriving in the next few weeks to assist our firefighters throughout the coming fire season.
"I urge all residents and those visiting the state to check out the Rural Fire Service website to complete a Bushfire Survival Plan and learn more about preparing for bushfire season."
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