Residents of Teewah north of Noosa were returning to their homes on Wednesday morning after being evacuated ahead of a bushfire which came dangerously close to the small beachside community.
The “leave now” warning was issued to some 15 households at around 9.30pm on Tuesday night as the fire burning east of the Noosa River moved rapidly north-east towards Teewah.
It is understood the fire was the result of a permitted burn in the St Johns Road area but the cause is still under investigation.
As of Wednesday morning the fire was travelling slowly to the north-west away from Teewah into an area which had previously burned.
Multiple fire crews attended the blaze including Noosa councillor Frank Pardon, a member of the Teewah 51 crew, who said the flames were “the biggest I’ve ever seen, 20 or 30 metres and way above the tree-tops”.
Cr Pardon said backburning operations and previously-burnt areas had assisted in “holding up” the fire, saying fire crews “basically chaperoned the fire around Teewah” by backburning throughout the night on Tuesday and into the early hours of Wednesday to strengthen firebreaks.
“It was a fire front about 10 kilometres long after it jumped the river and it came within 200 metres of where we backburned,” he said.
“It charged north behind the sand dunes and then split and started moving south.
“The boys put in a pretty solid night.”
Some residents initially considered staying to defend their homes but evacuated to the beach with police assistance when the fire moved closer to the small community, hosing down their properties and quickly gathering pets and belongings.
Spot fires were still burning on Wednesday morning and aerial assessments of the fire were being made.
Noosa resident Christina Moore who owns holiday rental Sandy Feet@Teewah said the community “dodged a bullet”.
“Most of the properties are holiday rentals so there’s not too many permanent residents,” she said.
“We didn’t have any guests in our accommodation but we do have people booked to arrive (on Thursday).
“But it was pretty scary when the wind changed and the fire came within 500 metres or so and coming after the Peregian fires.
“Basically the surrounding area has now been pretty well burnt out and backburned so we should be fairly safe, fingers crossed.”
As of Wednesday morning residents were being urged to stay up to date with further updates on the fire’s progress and fire weather warnings will continue for the Noosa area through the week.