'Not a joke': Former Victorian urges residents to leave
A FORMER Victorian resident is warning people the Deepwater blaze has a mind of its own, and if they are in the firing line to leave immediately.
Frustrated to hear some residents have chosen to stay in their homes despite multiple pleas to leave immediately, Debbie Wouters said now was the time to act.
The Queensland resident of five years lived through Victoria's horrific and fatal fires Ash Wednesday and Black Saturday.
Now living near Rosedale, Ms Wouters said people needed to realise a fire has no mercy.
The fire has burned through more than 20,000 hectares of bush and farmland since Saturday and is bearing down on homes.
"Firefighters and police are not miracle workers, the public really do need to listen," she said.
"They need to lose this hero status, this is not a joke.
"Some people are being absolute fools.
"There is plenty of accommodation, businesses right up to Rockhampton are opening up their rooms.
"There's places for people to take their animals too ... the help is out there."
She said relying on nearby beaches for safety would not work either.
"In Victoria the fires burned right down to the water and sucked the oxygen out of the air," she said.
This morning Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Bob Gee made similar pleas to residents who had refused to leave their homes.
This morning it was understood about 50 people were still in the danger area.
Residents in Baffle Creek, Rules Beach, Deepwater and Oyster Creek should leave immediately.
Gladstone Regional Council has recommended for residents to seek refuge with family/friends outside of the danger area.
Alternatively, the Miriam Vale Community Centre at 41 Blomfield St is set up as a refuge.
They can also go to Flatrock campground, where the SES has started to ferry people down the river.
As of yesterday more than 1500 were displaced by the blaze.
She said given today's heatwave conditions, typical of a Victorian summer day, it was important all residents remain vigilant.
Sharing her message on Baffle Creek Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance Facebook page, Ms Wouters received similar sentiments from other former Victorians.
One said, "It's not worth the life that can be taken. I too never thought I would be dealing with such a big fire moving up here. It just goes to show how unpredictable mother nature can be".