‘It became eerie’: Girls’ weekend hits roadblock
A "LITTLE puff of smoke" was the perfect back drop for a "girls' weekend" photo of Ailsa Emmert and her two sisters until the smoke turned to flame and travelled towards them.
"It was the most incredible speed. It looked like it was going to the west and we were saying 'we're fine' and within minutes it swung right around to the back of us," Ms Emmert said.
"You could see the fires coming over the hill on Adelaide Park Rd and then it jumped the road and raced up Mount Rae."
While the sight was "incredible", it was the speed that scared her.
"The wind was just a big whirly wind because the heat of the fire had created a big storm," she said.
"It became rather eerie."
The 79-year-old had plans for her sisters to stay for the weekend at her Adelaide Park home but about 7pm on Saturday their accommodation was quickly changed.
"The police came out and said 'you are evacuated'," she said.
She had 15 minutes to grab a small bag, a change of clothes, mobile phone and some other essentials, lock her house and leave.
They arrived at the evacuation centre about 7.30pm on Saturday night and on Monday at midday they were still there.
She has slept on the floor of the Capricorn Coast Basketball Association court in a room of about 30 others since Saturday, but her spirits were high.
Despite recent major back surgery, she said her "deluxe" mattress on the floor was all she could ask for.
"I mightn't even go home," she said.
"I'm safe, I know what's going on.
"The Salvation Army offered clothes and we are getting first-hand knowledge from authorities, which brings the stress down."
Being informed three times a day by emergency services was most important for Ms Emmert - she said rumours only created problems.
"My son, who lives in Byfield, was bailing hay and I couldn't contact him and someone rang me and said 'he lost everything'," she said.
"I was most concerned until the power came on in Byfield and I spoke to a neighbour."
Her son and his property were safe.
The emergency evacuation centre, run by Livingstone Shire Council, has accommodated up to 30 people a day - all meals and necessities have been provided to those in need.
A spokeswoman said people who had lost everything, including livestock, had used the shelter.
Keith and Mary O'Brien made the most of the facilities available, except for when it came to sleeping.
The 94-year-old ex-army recruit and his wife chose to sleep in their car rather than inside.
"You got to be tough but it's nothing like rolling round in the dirt," Mr O'Brien said.
They were evacuated from Farnborough on Saturday and were hoping to be allowed home on Monday night.