Resident tells how evacuated area felt 'like a war zone'

The Coolum Surf Club volunteers are preparing for fire evacuees to stay overnight in emergency accommodation.

A number of people have volunteered their homes to those fleeing the fire. Some have also offered to house pets and even livestock.

The emergency centre was created about 3pm this afternoon and about 40 volunteers have filtered in throughout the day to help.

More than 30 evacuees have used the centre over the course of the afternoon.

Local supermarkets have also provided food and water for those escaping the flames near Arcoona and Yandina-Coolum roads.

Lifesaving administrator Shane Urban said the prompt action of the volunteers was heartening.

"With tonight's unfortunate circumstance in the surf club becoming the hub for the evacuation of our locals, it really epitomises where the surf club comes from," he said.

"We'll be here until we're not needed to be here. We're being kept up to date through the emergency services and we have a direct line to the SES."

Hourly updates are being provided to those waiting for news on their homes.

Paul Booker and Sarah Hansen made the decision to leave their Arcoona Rd home about 2pm, as their neighbours across the road were told to evacuate.

Paul Booker and Sarah Hansen were forced to flee their homes as a bush fire threatened their property
Paul Booker and Sarah Hansen were forced to flee their homes as a bush fire threatened their property

Mr Booker said he had to leave his home of nearly 20 years because his parents, in their 70s, also lived on the property and could not leave quickly if they needed to.

"I had my parents to think about, and my partner and son. When you make the decision to go, you just go," he said.

Ms Hansen said it had felt like a war zone.

"Those water bombing helicopters sounded like Apaches. When I was sitting at the top of the driveaway every second vehicle coming through was an emergency services car," she said.

Mr Booker said the fire had put things in perspective.

"Things are just things. When you make that decision and are looking across the road and (the fire) is right on you, it's just stuff. You'd never forgive yourself if something happened to someone."

Topics:  coolum editors picks fire