A fire that’s destroyed homes and forced hundreds of evacuations on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast may have been deliberately lit.
Malicious behaviour may have contributed to the bushfire emergency across Queensland amid fears a destructive Sunshine Coast blaze was started by teenagers.
Police are interviewing a group of teens over the blaze that’s destroyed two homes in the Peregian Beach area, south of Noosa, and forced hundreds to flee.
“Some of the behaviour, unfortunately, has been reckless and other behaviour has been purposeful,” Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said on Tuesday.”Some of the fires have involved children playing and obviously the consequences are dire as a result of that.
“Some of them have been purposeful and malicious. Some fires have clearly just gotten away from kids thinking they’re having fun.”
Three teenage boys reportedly came to the attention of police after allegedly admitting to lighting the Peregian fire in a local internet chat room.
The Peregian Beach Surf and Lifesaving Club posted on their Facebook page that they were sent a screen shot of the chat room message.
Eight fires are in the scope of a taskforce set up by the police to investigate the blazes over the last few days, which have destroyed 17 houses across the state and damaged 67 others, Commissioner Carroll said.
There are fears other houses around Perigian may have been lost to the fast-moving blaze which broke out on Monday afternoon and rapidly raced towards the beachside communities.
Acting premier Jackie Trad said it was “nothing short of a miracle” more homes weren’t lost.
More than 80 fires are burning across Queensland, with dangerous winds expected to ramp up again on Tuesday afternoon.The fire affecting Peregian Beach and Peregian Breeze Estate is burning north, towards Marcus Beach.
It is not considered to be under control and the situation remains extremely volatile.
A ‘leave now’ order is current for residents of Peregian Beach, Peregian Breeze Estate and Marcus Beach.
Prepare to leave warnings are in place for residents north of the fire front including at Weyba, Weyba Downs, Peregian Springs, and Castaways Beach.
“The frustration, the angst, the uncertainty. You could just see it written all over their faces. These are really trying times,” acting Sunshine Coast mayor Tim Dwyer said.
The other major fire of concern on Tuesday is the one that’s destroyed at least eight homes and the heritage listed lodge in the Gold Coast hinterland.
QFES has indicated it may have to send some personnel to the Sunshine Coast.
The Bureau of Meteorology expects the fire danger to drop to ‘high’ across much of the state on Wednesday and Thursday due to more moderate winds and higher humidity.
But it’s predicted to increase into the weekend due to a rise in temperatures.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has paid tribute to emergency services personnel, volunteers and residents who have worked together in the face of the ongoing threat.