Hundreds in evacuation centres, QFES preparing for round two
STANTHORPE residents are returning to their homes after a harrowing night of bushfires across the Southern Downs.
Southern Downs Regional Council mayor Tracy Dobie commended emergency services and volunteers for their amazing efforts over the last 12 hours.
"Everyone was absolutely fantastic," she said.
Emergency services are now preparing to face their second day of fires as winds are predicted to pick up over the course of the morning.
Around 130 people were evacuated to the Stanthorpe Fitness Centre last night and the majority have now been given the all-clear to return home, according to the mayor.
"Most have gone home now because they're allowed back in their homes," she said.
"Except for areas north of Stanthorpe, but most people from there are now in Warwick."
There is yet to be an official report on the number of properties destroyed, and Cr Dobie said she didn't wish to speculate.
The YMCA at Leslie Dam accommodated around 190 evacuees last night and more continue to arrive as the fire spreads north.
The mayor says SDRC is working hard to ensure water and waste water systems remain functional throughout power outages and in Stanthorpe they are currently operating on generators.
"Ergon has been doing an amazing job load shifting power throughout the night and trying to get power back on after their station burnt down yesterday," Cr Dobie said.
Power in the main street of Stanthorpe has reportedly returned and hot food is on offer at the Stanthorpe Fitness Centre.
Cr Dobie urged residents to keep up to date with current alerts via the QFES social media pages and to follow their advice wherever possible.
"People in Stanthorpe, if they've not been evacuated, should stay in their homes," she said.
"If you have no reason to be out and about please just stay home."