Caravans leaving Woodgate as bushfires disrupt access to the coastal township.
Caravans leaving Woodgate as bushfires disrupt access to the coastal township.

59 fire crews at Woodgate

THE fire that started at Woodgate on Wednesday was still raging into last night as heroic firefighters attempted to establish containment lines.

A spokesman for the Bureau of Meteorology said winds would swing around and become northerly heading into the weekend, blowing north, northeast in the afternoons but north-westerly in the mornings.

The spokesman said winds would be blowing between 20 to 25km/h on average, though may increase as the weekend goes on.

The forecast predicts winds will be blowing north-westerly up to 35km/h by Sunday afternoon.

Yesterday morning a press conference was held with representatives from Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and Queensland Police, as well as Bundaberg Regional Council Mayor Jack Dempsey, who provided an update for the region on the degrading conditions at Woodgate.

As of the time of this press event, there were no recorded injuries or properties destroyed by the fire.

“Conditions are changing as we speak, hour by hour, and that’s making life difficult for us to control the fire,” said QFES Inspector Ron Higgins.

“The challenges are it’s a fast-moving fire. It’s a 10m-high fire in conditions where it’s dry and rapidly advancing on us.

“It’s really hard, we can’t do a direct attack on it. All we can do is maintain the flanks and try to contain it.”

Police Inspector and district disaster co-ordinator Pat Swindells said it was pleasing to see residents obeying police directions when told to evacuate, though there was no indication of when Woodgate Road would be open again, nor how many people were in the Woodgate township.

“It’s too dangerous at the moment to let people back in,” he said.

He said police resources were on standby to escort residents out of the danger zone should an evacuation of the township need to be enacted.

Cr Dempsey said the region was definitely being tested at the moment.

“Whilst we have these active fire situations continuing, I really want to say a big thank you to all of the volunteers, our hard-working emergency staff and the volunteers that have come to assist other members of the Bundaberg community,” Cr Dempsey said.

“One of the pleasing aspects with this natural disaster is the amount of resilience these communities have.”

He said the self-evacuations and clear thinking was a credit to residents of Woodgate, Walkers Point and Buxton.

As of 5.30pm yesterday, 54 QFES vehicles were on scene at the Woodgate fire, with another five on the way in an attempt to contain the blaze.

A temporary refuge has been set up at the Isis Cultural Centre in Childers.