Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, Queensland Police and Southern Downs Regional Council update the community on Sunday.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, Queensland Police and Southern Downs Regional Council update the community on Sunday. Matthew Purcell

COMMUNITY MEETING: 'Worst over but don't get complacent'

REASONABLE overnight conditions have helped allow fire crews to bring the blaze at Applethorpe under control.

While it is still not doused, the warnings have been downgraded to 'stay informed'.

Speaking at a community meeting at the Stanthorpe Civic Centre this afternoon, QFES assistant commissioner Megan Stiffler said the fire was under control within identified containment lines.

"The focus of our crews is to strengthen those containment lines,” she said.

"What we want to do is circle this fire and make all the edges very thick so no matter what happens with the wind it doesn't get out of those containment lines.

"We had really good conditions overnight so all of our plans we wanted to achieve overnight were achieved.

"I can't commend the work of our ground crews highly enough.”

She reminded residents to obey road blocks and exclusion zones for their own safety.

"They are an exclusion for safety reasons and I can't stress that enough.

"There's power lines downed. There's actual power poles just hanging by the wires and they've been burnt out underneath.

"This is a very dangerous environment. We know you want to get back into your areas but if you please bare with us.”

Queensland Police assistant commissioner Mike Condon applauded the resilience and patience of the community.

"I'd like to acknowledge the outstanding work by all the agencies, particularly our front line people who have worked day and night to effectively pull off a miracle, considering the catastrophic conditions we've faced.

"We can't be complacent. Mother nature can be quite cruel and unpredictable,” he said.

One Caves Rd resident who was thanking her lucky stars is Kerrie Stratford.

She said she doesn't know how her home was left standing.

"By some miracle the fireys saved my house.

"I'm still a bit shell shocked my house survived. Other friends of mine who live up Caves Rd - haven't got a house.

"It is only through the good work of fireys we survived. How the hell they stopped it I don't know. It was a monster,” Ms Stratford said.

Southern Downs Regional Council mayor Tracy Dobie said a second evacuation centre in Warwick will be closed later today, while they'll take advice on how long to keep the Stanthorpe one open.

"What I'd like you to think about is what has been saved,” Cr Dobie said.

"If you've been out and had a look already around our community, you will be amazed.”

Cr Dobie also encouraged people with pets who may have gone without food, to contact Stanthorpe Vet Care Services who have received a large donation of food.

A Community Recovery Hub is also expected to be up and running by tomorrow afternoon.

It will be located at the Stanthorpe Civic Centre, above the senior citizens room.

Local agencies, along with the Department of Housing, Red Cross, Lifeline, Salvation Army and GIVIT will have representatives providing information to residents who may need support.

A Community Recovery Hotline has also been established. Phone 1800 173 349 if you require more information.

Cr Dobie said any debris left from the fires can be taken to the Stanthorpe Waste Transfer Station free of charge.

Another community meeting is expected to be held on Tuesday afternoon or evening.

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