Cafe owner recalls evacuation of town
MOUNT Larcom and Ambrose residents remain on edge despite being allowed back into their homes after a bushfire ravaged the townships on Wednesday.
The two towns were evacuated on Wednesday afternoon, told to leave for safety from a fast-moving, intense fire. Shortly before 10.30am yesterday, Queensland Police Service reopened the towns.
Mount Larcom Cafe owner Julie Beel said the situation unfolded extremely quickly.
"I didn't think it'd come to Mount Larcom and we'd have anything like this," she said.
"Before you knew, you saw it on the hill and next minute it was here.
"The wind, the howling of the flames, it was very intense.
"You couldn't even really look at anyone, they were just all too busy.
"I got my stuff out and we're here to help everyone, but when it came to the crunch and police knocked on the door, it was just get your stuff and go." It's estimated some Mount Larcom residents had about 30 minutes between knowing about the fire and being forced to leave.
Gladstone Police Inspector Darren Sommerville described it as a "very quick event".
"The fire started at Ambrose and moved quickly along the Bruce Highway to Mount Larcom and there was very little time," he said.
"I'd like to thank the community for co-operating for police ... it made it so much easier for the fire service to defend the Mount Larcom township."
With heatwave conditions continuing yesterday and a very high fire danger remaining, the blaze continued throughout the day as residents returned to their homes.
Shortly before midday, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services advised the bushfire was still active at The Narrows Rd, Mount Larcom.
Ms Beel told The Observer on Thursday the community was still on edge.
"I know one of my staff members isn't unpacking her car until it's all over," she said.
"We got told if Cedar Vale goes up, we'll be evacuated again.
"And everyone just has to listen, you have to get out if you're told to get out because there's simply no warning."