Scenic Rim community spirit bolstered as fires rage on

Scenic Rim is burning but community spirit wins the day at Canungra

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The Scenic Rim community has stepped up to the challenge with calm stoicism.

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EXHAUSTED firefighters and residents forced to leave their homes to the brutality of an unpredictable bushfire were bolstered by energetic volunteers and a supportive community on Saturday.

The fire, which ripped through Lamington National Park and on Friday night caused devastation to Binna Burra properties, has now covered more than 1000 hectares of land, causing scorched trees to fall and leaving thousands of ember-filled logs, any of which could trigger another catastrophic conflagration at any time.

The emergency response plan was modelled on the assumption that embers could travel two kilometres ahead of the fire front, so when the wind gusts carried sparks almost five kilometres away from the main blaze, it created a terrifying situation for even the most seasoned firefighters.

Local firies, many of whom had spent the entire night battling the blaze at Binna Burra, paused for rest and refreshments at the emergency services staging area at the Canungra Showgrounds.

They were greeted by volunteers from the Rapid Relief Team, a Christian charity that has been on the ground since last Wednesday preparing and serving three solid meals a day to the firefighters and SES volunteers.

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The firefighters included Firefighter Lachlan Poetschka and Drew Mead who had fought the blaze all Friday night and said things had been calmer in the light of day.

"It's pretty good now but earlier today it was a bit savage," he said.

"We were up at Binna Burra from 11pm defending two properties that backed into the valley.

"We had five appliances and we managed to save both properties."

Displaced residents arrived at the refuge centre, which had been moved from Tamborine Village to Canungra on Sunday morning, many looking for information about their properties and whether or not they still had homes to which they could return.

They included Beechmont couple Lauren and Stephen Haebich who had been notified by police that their home had been impacted by the fire.

"We had a phone call from a police officer but all they could say was the property had been affected but couldn't say how badly," Ms Haebich said.

'We can't go and check for ourselves because police say the road is closed for the foreseeable future.

"The kids were at kindy and we got the dogs out in time but we've come to the support centre to try and find out more about our house.

"Hopefully it's still standing."

Mr Haebich said he had spent the past six months building a music studio and new deck at the property.

"It's nearly finished," he said.

"I'm a carpenter so if it's gone I will just have to build it again."

Representatives from Queensland police were on hand to provide help and information, while the Australian Red Cross provided advice and the Salvation Army provided food and grocery packages.

Local resident Lynn Porter was taking calls from horse owners hoping to find refuge for their animals and providing accommodation and feed for 30 miniature horses and four large horses at Canungra, with a further 30 large horses offered accommodation at a Biddaddaba property.

Scenic Rim councillor Virginia West was at the staging area most of today and said she was not surprised that the blankets and pillows at the Tamborine Village emergency refuge centre remained unused overnight when no one turned up.

"This shows how well our community supports each other," she said.

"People who left their homes had somewhere to go, it has been very humbling to see how the community has been doing through this."

Cr West said there were still challenging days ahead and urged the Canungra community to be vigilant.

"Decide what you will do, where you will go and what you will take with you should you have to leave," she said.

"Otherwise the advice is to stay off the roads and check council's Disaster Dashboard or the disaster management Facebook page."

The mayor said people wanting to help should avoid visiting the area to drop off donations because 150 fire trucks and emergency services personnel should take priority on the roads.

He said people who are able to offer accommodation or animal fodder could contact council to see how they can help.

Canungra op shop is also accepting donations for victims of the bushfire in the area.

Beaudesert Times

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