Aaron Bunch Journalist with Australian Associated Press | Collection of published work | + 61 484 008 119 | abunch@aap.com.au

Nervous wait for Qlders in bushfire zones

A Gold Coast hinterland resident evacuated due to a bushfire threat says she has her most precious possession with her.

September 7, 2019

Binna Burra resident Sophie Bryden and her son Tristan, 10, fled their home as a bushfire raced toward their hilltop town.

Binna Burra resident Sophie Bryden doesn’t know if her home is still standing.

And she may not find out for days due to the ongoing bushfire threat near her property.

“You don’t know what you’re going to come back to,” Ms Bryden told AAP on Saturday.

“You’re either going to walk into your house and say, ‘Thank God, it’s all still here’ or just lose it (when you see it’s gone).

“I haven’t slept. I’m joking and laughing and just trying to get through it with humour.”

Ms Bryden and her 10-year-old son Tristan were among the hundreds of Queenslanders evacuated as 51 fires blaze across the state.

Binna Burra resident Sophie Bryden registers with a Red Cross official at an evacuation centre in Canungra a day after fleeing a bushfire in the Gold Coast hinterland that was threatening her home.

Residents of Binna Burra, in the Gold Coast hinterland on the edge of Lamington National Park, were ordered to evacuate immediately on Friday as the large and dangerous fire, fanned by strong and gusty westerly winds, bore down on them.

At least nine homes have already been destroyed near the township, with one also razed at nearby Sarabah.

Trees burn in the Lamington National Park, near Binna Burra. The Gold Coast Hinterland blaze is one of 51 bushfires currently burning across the state.

Ms Bryden left her acre of land at Binna Burra on Friday afternoon.

She went to a friend’s home at nearby Beechmont, in the Scenic Rim, but was again evacuated by police at 11pm on Friday night.

They went to Canungra, 40 minutes away, where they are now camping at the township’s show grounds with other evacuees.

“At the end of that day whatever I hold precious is with me right now – my son and my dog,” she said through tears at the campsite.

“So anything else, it’s sad but it can be replaced.

“But it doesn’t help. You’d be just starting again. You hear about it happening to other people, then all of a sudden you are stuck in the thick of it and you say, ‘Surely this isn’t real’.”

Stanthorpe resident Marie Faint has surveyed some of the damage in her Queensland-NSW border town after a fire ripped through on Friday.

Seven structures, including three homes, have burnt down in her region, including nearby Applethorpe.

“It’s just horrid. It’s just black. There’s smoke everywhere, still coming off the trees. Is that going to light up again?” Ms Faint said.

“We witnessed a fire about 100 metres down from where we live and I’m thinking, ‘What the hell are we doing back?’

“It’s eerie. I’ve never seen anything like this before. I’ve never been this scared.”

A burnt-out paddock near the Lamington National Park. At least ten homes have been destroyed in towns surrounding the park.

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