Cobraball fire. Fire bomber in action near Mount Barmoya.
Cobraball fire. Fire bomber in action near Mount Barmoya.

Fire threat persists and parts remain evacuated

BLANKETED in smoke, Capricorn Coast locals wishing to return home to their evacuated properties had a frustrating wait while fresh fires were fought and streets given the all clear.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services confirmed yesterday that 11 dwellings and 11,000 acres were destroyed by the Cobraball fire, which started on noon Saturday.

The uncontained 14km long and 12km wide fire spread on multiple fronts north, west and east throughout the day.

Roadblocks remained in place throughout the day preventing evacuated residents from returning to their properties while the rapid response assessment team assessed the fire ravaged area.

Comprised of members of QFES, Ergon Energy and Livingstone Shire Council needed to ensure the fire threat wouldn't return and there weren't safety risks created by damaged properties, power and surrounding vegetation.

Just after 5pm, Livingstone Shire Council released a map showing fire affected streets marked in green which were deemed safe to return and red where they remained closed.

The green roads are now open
The green roads are now open

While it may be safe to return to some properties, authorities are urging residents to take precautions when assessing their damages," the LSC spokesperson said.

"Residents are encouraged to follow the appropriate steps provided on Council's website to ensure your safety when re-entering your property or road."

At 4.30pm a 'leave now' order was issued by QFES for streets in Adelaide Park Vaughans Road, Millers Place, Mountain View Drive and Catherine Avenue, Adelaide Park.

This order was downgraded to a 'prepare to leave' level at 6.30pm.

Residents in the Cobraball, Bungundarra, Maryvale, Lake Mary area were also told at 6pm to prepare to leave, due to the threat of the "slow-moving but dangerous fire".

"The fire was impacting Mount Lizard, east of Evans Road, south of Mapes Road, south of Ingrey Road, east of Serpentine Road and north of Cobraball Road," QFES warned.

Addressing media with Livingstone Council Mayor Bill Ludwig and Police Superintendent Ron Van Saane, Acting Assistant Commissioner Steve Smith said about 35 per cent of the fire front remained uncontained.

At the peak of the fire, Mr Smith said 130 people, 60 vehicles and 10 aircraft were fighting the blaze.


He described the conditions as "erratic" with fire resources divided between hitting the fire front and tackling fire outbreaks in areas where the fire had already passed, igniting unburnt vegetation and threatening properties.

According to Mr Smith, some fire fighting aircraft were grounded due to thick plumes of smoke impeding pilot's visibility.

With inspections of bushfire affected properties ongoing, he expressed hope that everyone would be able to return home in the coming days.

While it was still expected to be hot and sunny today, he expected conditions to improve with thanks to weaker north to north-easterly 15 to 20km/h winds, with the fire danger rating dropping to a 'high' level.

Cobraball fire.
Cobraball fire.

Mr Van Saane acknowledged that while there was frustration in the community, his number one priority was the safety of the community.

Police are continuing to investigate the cause of the fires and are appealing to the public for information which could assist them.

Livingstone Shire mayor Bill Ludwig said there were 30-40 people staying in the evacuation centre and 400 homes were without power.

He described the fires as a disaster for the region and appealed to the government for financial assistance.

"It is close to a miracle that nobody has lost their life in this unprecedented disaster," Cr Ludwig said.

"Council will be working closely with government agencies to ensure affected residents get the support they need quickly, in this difficult time.

"We will be pushing for every dollar made available to help rebuild our community affected by the fires."

Cobraball fire. Fire bomber in action near Mount Barmoya.
Cobraball fire. Fire bomber in action near Mount Barmoya.

Mr Ludwig's wishes were answered by Capricornia MP Michelle Landry and Keppel MP Brittany Lauga.

Ms Landry said disaster assistance has been made available in the Livingstone Shire Assistance through the jointly funded Commonwealth-Queensland Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements providing personal hardship assistance and essential services safety grants.

"This will help bushfire-hit communities get through this with dignity," Ms Landry said.

"This will help meet the immediate needs of people in the fire zone, providing things like food and clothing.

"It can also help replace basic household needs. This will also help fund the emergency response and clean up."

Ms Landry said conditions were still volatile so the Commonwealth and State governments were working identify where further assistance is needed.

Cobraball fire. Rural fire brigdes on route to fires.
Cobraball fire. Rural fire brigdes on route to fires.

"This is the first tranche of disaster support funding. Once damage has been assessed, further support will become available," she said

Ms Lauga said community members experiencing financial hardship as a result of the bushfires may be eligible for financial assistance to help them get back on their feet.

Cobraball fire. Fire bomber refueling at Barmaryee sports ground.
Cobraball fire. Fire bomber refueling at Barmaryee sports ground.

"Emergency Hardship Assistance grants provide disaster-affected residents with $180 per person and up to $900 for a family of five or more," Ms Lauga said.

"These payments are intended to contribute to the replacement of essential items such as food, clothing and medication, and to help cover the costs of alternative accommodation if needed."

Disaster affected community members can access support and assistance at the community recovery hub at 11 James St, Yeppoon from a range of government and non-government organisations providing personal and emotional support, housing support, financial hardship assistance. The Hub is open today, 9am to 5pm daily.

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