Emotional scenes as good news is delivered amid fire chaos
THERE was a resounding round of applause as emergency services delivered the news those impacted by the Deepwater bushfires had probably hoped, but many dared not express out loud, given the scale of the situation facing firefighters yesterday.
Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett said there were emotional scenes last night at a community meeting in Agnes Water as Rural Fire Service area director Craig Majick addressed the crowd.
"He was able to report to the crowd there was no houses lost that they were aware of, and everyone broke into applause," Mr Bennett said.
"For everyone that spent the day up there yesterday, including ourselves, the greatest fear was that we were catastrophic outcome, ie a Ash Wednesday type outcome, with multiple homes and even lives lost."
Mr Bennett said it was a remarkable effort from firefighters who at times were confronted by 17m, two-storey walls of flames moving at 20-30 knots.
"No house garden hose is going to stop that," he said.
Mr Bennett said the feelings towards emergency services from those most effected was respectful and understanding, with people just keen to be provided with the most updated information.
"There was nothing I could see of anguish, except not knowing what the state of play is," he said.
"Because of the nature, no one can actually give them that information because the area is closed to everyone."
Mr Bennett said while for the most part the mood was upbeat, disappointingly those risking their lives to protect the communities were brought down by the knowledge that a small number of people had refused to heed warnings to leave.
"I understand there was some arrests made," he said.
"My understanding is there are still six or seven individuals who are either concealing themselves or are believed to be concealing themselves to stay behind.
"That was frustrating for everyone involved who put so much time and effort into preventative strategies and fire mitigation plans, to have people just refuse."
With a leave immediately warnings now in place for the Winfield and Captain Creek, Mr Bennett urged everyone to follow evacuation advice, as decisions to evoke those type of warning were not done lightly.
"Emergency services are there for a reason, they are professionals," he said.
"Please believe the people trained in this area."