The blaze at Airlie Beach on Sunday night.
The blaze at Airlie Beach on Sunday night. June Waight

Holiday-makers forced out as large grassfire threatens

ABOUT 80 guests spent the early hours of New Year's Day forced from their resorts after a "significant" bush fire nearby prompted an evacuation.

Fire and Emergency Services crews from both Airlie Beach and Proserpine were called to the blaze at Hermitage Dr, about 3.45am.

Photos splashed on social media show the hillside in flames and smoke rising from the charred ground the morning after.

QFES incident controller Nick Moss said the significant blaze was quickly moving up the hill.

In the early stages of tackling the blaze, there had been concern for nearby properties, he said, but fortunately, the fire was burning up the hill, rather than laterally towards them.

Some adjacent resorts were evacuated , as a precaution, including Peppers Airlie Beach, on Mt Whitsunday Drive.

"There was a significant number of people from the Peppers Resort (evacuated). I think a total of about three of their blocks of accommodation," Mr Moss said.

It is understood the manager on duty began knocking on doors of guests rooms.

Police also assisted with the evacuation.

Paramedics were also on standby; however, no one was injured.

Firefighters had the blaze under control by 7am yesterday. It took a while to dampen down the edges and contain the "flare ups" Mr Moss said.

By mid-morning, crews were still on scene dampening down hot spots.

"We've got a few flare ups," Mr Moss said. "Obviously it's a big piece of land and we've got reasonable amount of breeze kicking into it today from the north-west.

"We've also got some really dry conditions.

"The unburnt fuel has still potential to flare up every now and again so we're just monitoring that."

Mr Moss said it was a "significant stretch of fire" on a steep piece of land, which was a concern to firefighters.

A worker at Peppers Resort confirmed the evacuation, but referred any questions to the Mantra Group, who could not provide a comment on the situation before deadline.