Inside the incident control center directing the emergency service response to the Woodgate fire.
Inside the incident control center directing the emergency service response to the Woodgate fire.

What authorities want you to know about Woodgate fire

THIRTY-TWO Queensland Fire and Emergency Service vehicles are still battling the fire at Woodgate with residents still not allowed beyond the roadblock at Drapers Road.

A Leave Now alert is still in place for residents at Woodgate Road and Walkers Point Road, and those at Kinkuna Waters should prepare to leave if conditions worsen.

QFES Inspector Ron Higgins said weather conditions changed overnight in the firefighters' favour and allowed them to work on containment lines, but unfavourable weather picked up again this morning and the fire is still not contained.

"It's still an active fire on all flanks," Mr Higgins said.

"With the weather conditions this morning that changed we now have active fire in the north end of the fire, which we're dealing with using aerial bombing.

"We've also got active fire on the eastern side which is on the Woodgate Beach village side and also down to the south and on the western side which is being monitored."

Smoke billows near Woodgate Road yesterday.
Smoke billows near Woodgate Road yesterday.

He said conditions were changing all the time and were unpredictable heading in to the weekend.

"This morning it was southerly winds, now changing to the east and then it's going to flow around to the northeast this afternoon so the conditions are already changing as we speak, hour by hour and that's making life difficult for us to control the fire," he said.

Luckily, there were no injuries or destroyed properties reported, though a few properties in the path of the fire yesterday were evacuated.

"The challenges are that it's a fast-moving fire. It's a 10-metre high fire in conditions where it's dry and it's rapidly advancing on us," Mr Higgins said.

"It's really hard, we can't do a direct attack on it.

"All we can do is maintain the flanks and try and contain it."

He said it was unknown exactly how many people were still in Woodgate, and though they were free to self-evacuate, once they left they couldn't return.

Queensland Police Service Inspector Pat Swindells is the district disaster co-ordinator for Bundaberg.

He said it was very pleasing to have residents listening to police direction when they were told to evacuate and didn't push back.

"It's too dangerous at the moment to let people back in," Mr Swindells said.

"We are at a Watch and Act, waiting to see what the weather conditions will do this afternoon."

He said the fire had jumped containment lines and moved north, and while QFES was taking action to contain the fire, there was still no indication of when the road into Woodgate would be open.

"If you can't return, we are asking you to go to the evacuation centre at Childers or friends and family in the area."

He said numerous police resources were ready to go into Woodgate and start an evacuation process if conditions deteriorated, saying an emergency services escort would be ready to lead people from Woodgate in the event of an evacuation.

Mayor Jack Dempsey said one of the remarkable things about the Woodgate fire was the resilience of the community.

"I know as a community we'll certainly get through this changing fire event," he said.

He said at one stage there was about 60 people heading in and out of the emergency centre at Childers and about 33 people stayed permanently for the evening.



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