Video: A bushfire burns at Peregian Beach on the Sunshine Coast
Terrifying scenes as firestorm threatens homes in Sunshine Coast blaze
Peregian Beach is a beach and small coastal town on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. It is a suburb split between two local government areas with the eastern coastal in the Shire of Noosa and the western hinterland part in the Sunshine Coast Region. (Between 2008 and 2013 Peregian Beach was entirely within Sunshine Coast Region). In the 2016 census, Peregian Beach had a population of 3,791 people.
Peregian Beach bushfire under control after homes evacuated
Bushfires are frequent events during the warmer months of the year, due to Australia’s mostly hot, dry climate. Each year, such fires impact extensive areas. On one hand, they can cause property damage and loss of human life. Certain native flora in Australia have evolved to rely on bushfires as a means of reproduction, and fire events are an interwoven and an essential part of the ecology of the continent. For thousands of years, Indigenous Australians have used fire to foster grasslands for hunting and to clear tracks through dense vegetation.
Major firestorms that result in severe loss of life are often named based on the day on which they occur, such as Ash Wednesday and Black Saturday. Some of the most intense, extensive and deadly bushfires commonly occur during droughts and heat waves, such as the 2009 southeastern Australia heat wave, which precipitated the conditions during the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in which 173 people lost their lives. Other major conflagrations include the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires, the 2003 Eastern Victorian alpine bushfires and the 2006 December Bushfires.
In 2013 the non-profit Climate Council reported that Global warming is increasing the frequency and severity of bushfires.
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Peregian Beach bushfire under control after homes evacuated
Peregian Beach 4573
A bushfire that was threatening homes at Peregian on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast has been brought under control, with firefighters surrounding the blaze to keep it contained.
- The Noosa Leisure Centre was opened as an evacuation centre
- Multiple fire crews and police attended the scene
- Coolum State High School has been closed
The fire broke out about 6:30am and quickly escalated to an emergency declaration.
About 50 residents in an area bordered by Lorikeet Drive and Greenshank Street were told to leave their homes as the fast-moving blaze bore down on their beachside community.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Service regional manager Michelle Young said water bombing helped crews on the ground get a handle on fire, which was estimated to span 100 metres.
She said it was brought under control at 11:00am and was contained to a small area of bushland to the east of David Low Way.
Video: Waterbombing helicopters work to contain the blaze
“All the crews have surrounded the fire, so it’s not going to get away from us,” she said.
“We’ll be on scene for a few hours to make sure we put out all those hot spots and make sure there is nothing in there that can flare up.”
Rural Fire Services area director Andrew Allan said authorities were “taken a little bit by surprise” by how easily the bushfire took this morning.
Police block the road at the scene of a bushfire at Peregian Beach. (Supplied: Caitlin Neate)
“We did have some rain on Monday night, so very surprising,” he said.
“It’s all about strengthening those containment lines.
“We’re hitting it with all the resources we can.”
Video: The bushfire has now been contained.
More than 100 personnel from Queensland Police Service, Rural Fire Service, Queensland Fire and Emergency Service, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service were on the ground.
Police Inspector John Lewis said the cause of the fire was not known at this stage.
“We’ve got [police] investigators on scene, and also fire investigators,” he said.
“When it’s safe and appropriate to do so, they’ll go and look at the area and see if there is any evidence about what may have caused the fire.
“It’s too early to say. We’re not making any predictions on that.”
Emergency Services attended Emu Mountain Road. (ABC News: Tara Cassidy)
Simon McDermott from McDermott Aviation said waterbombing helicopters had been dropping about 3,000 litres of water on the head of the fire every few minutes.
And at the height of the emergency, fuel tankers were also brought in so air crews could refuel quickly.
The bushfire came less than a month after a blaze destroyed one home and damaged several others in the suburb.
Peregian Beach bushfire helicopter
Noosa Deputy Mayor Frank Wilkie was evacuated from his Peregian Beach home this morning — the second time in a month.
He said many in the community were anxious about fires, but others now feel confident with their fire plans.
“We know the routine now, it’s more of an inconvenience than anything,” he said.
Another Peregian Beach resident told local radio he had felt nervous about the unfolding situation.
Smoke billows from the fire at David Low Way near Emu Mountain Road. (Supplied: Caitlin Neate)
“I swore I was going to renew my contents insurance and I haven’t gotten around to that yet,” he said.
He said he noticed “wisps of smoke” while en route to work about 7:10am.
“There was a fire truck and a police officer there and I thought everything was fine,” he said.
“I sent photos to my sister, who I live with, and said ‘something is happening there’.
“By the time I got [to work], she was already being evacuated.
Authorities are at the scene of the bushfire, with an alert issued this morning. (Supplied: Caitlin Neate)
Coolum State High School was closed for the day.
Principal Troy Ascott said while there was no threat to the school, their fire evacuation procedures had been followed.
Parents said they were trying to clarify why a bus load of students was dropped off at a road block this morning during the height of the fire emergency.
“I was a little bit annoyed this morning when they dropped my son on the side of David Low Way just before the police road block and left him there,” father Derek said.
“They basically said ‘well you can’t get into the high school, you kids can all get off here’ and they all got off, with the fire across the road sort of thing, or the fire up the road.”
The fire came close to Peregian Beach homes, with locals told at 8:45am to evacuate. (Twitter: Todd Fraser)