FIRE ESCAPE: Raglan Tavern is acting as an evacuation zone for Ambrose residents.
FIRE ESCAPE: Raglan Tavern is acting as an evacuation zone for Ambrose residents. Greg Bray

Raglan watering hole becomes fire refuge for students

IT CAME out of nowhere shortly after 1pm and within a matter of hours thick smoke engulfed Ambrose and Mount Larcom.

A fire near Stenovich Rd at Ambrose had been reported yesterday morning and by 2pm residents were told to evacuate the township and seek refuge at the Raglan Tavern.

Teachers at Ambrose State School wasted no time evacuating grounds after the order was given by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.

A quick trip up the road to Raglan Tavern ensued for students and their teachers, who were gratefully accepted by tavern owner Michelle Weir.

It was a whirlwind moment for Michelle who had only found out minutes earlier that her watering hole would be used for people affected by fire.

"We were only notified in the last 20 minutes that there was a fire coming through," she said.

"They've evacuated the school and the evacuation centre is here because we're north of the fire danger."


RAGLAN PARMA: Raglan Tavern's Michelle Weir is giving $10 from every parma sold to drought relief.
Raglan Tavern's Michelle Weir. Greg Bray

Despite having fears for her own property on Ambrose-Bracewell Rd, Michelle made sure the Ambrose students were well looked after with cans of lemonade and iceblocks.

"We've got heaps of cold drinks here so they'll be right. It will be all hands on deck."


While the students were safe at Raglan there was a different story developing at Mount Larcom as strong and dry winds pushed the fire closer to the town.

As the fire closed in so did the smoke and by 4.30pm police closed the Bruce Highway from Taylors Lane south to the Mount Larcom township.

It didn't stop there with the fire jumping the Bruce Highway 150m south of the Mount Larcom intersection shortly before 6pm.

Police reports then surfaced that residents at Balfour St refused to leave their homes with the fire fast approaching.

Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre is being used as the evacuation centre for Mount Larcom residents.