Deputy Mayor escapes bushfires
BUSHFIRE evacuees on Monday evening included Noosa’s Deputy Mayor and his family.
Cr Frank Wilkie said he was as caught out as every other resident in the Peregian area had been.
“I switched on the six o’clock news and heard there was a bushfire at Peregian Springs,” he said at The J’s evacuation centre on Tuesday afternoon.
“I walked outside west of where I live, which is at South Peregian.
“I could see a red glow in the sky.
“I walked back inside – five minutes later I went out again to have another look.
“It was almost as if it was upon us. The whole sky was red and there were embers coming over our roof.
“So I said to my wife and daughter, ‘Pack your stuff. We need to leave now.’”
Within 10 minutes the Wilkie family had grabbed some essentials and jumped in their car.
“We left in the clothes we were wearing,” Mr Wilkie said.
“I made sure I had my guitar, laptops and phones, and then we drove off down Lorikeet Drive as we’d heard David Low Way was busy with people leaving Peregian Springs.
“So down Lorikeet Drive, Peregian Esplanade and we came out near Lowry St and Glen Eden and had a smooth run to The J, which is a nominated evacuation centre.”
They were some of the first people to arrive at the hastily set-up centre.
“From then on, I helped register people until midnight,” Cr Wilkie said.
“Around eight o’clock, hundreds of people seemed to be pouring in here – it got really busy.
“As the word got out about how serious the fire was and with people having to evacuate their homes because of the speed of the fire, there were a lot of very distressed people.
“The council staff and volunteers did a great job settling people in here, calming them down, making them feel welcome.
“Everyone just wanted to support each other and all through the night, people were coming in offering accommodation to people they’d never met.
“It was wonderful to see the support demonstrated.”
The Wilkies finally left the centre about midnight to stay at a family friend’s place.
“I got back this morning and just spoke to people and we all just shared news,” Cr Wilkie said.
“We were all dependent on the radio, what QFES had to say.
“The big question is whether we can go back to our homes tonight.
“To get a shower, get changed.
“But with 1000 homes still without power, a normal routine may not be possible in the short term.”