Police say a 16-year-old boy has been charged with starting a Central Queensland bushfire that has destroyed 14 homes, as firefighters concentrate on strengthening containment lines and extinguishing existing fires before the weather deteriorates over the weekend.
The charge relates to the Cobraball fire, west of Yeppoon, said state disaster coordinator and Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski.
"This investigation's been ongoing since the start of the fire, so we've had an avenue of investigation that we've been pursuing," he said.
Seventy-five bushfires were still burning across the state on Thursday, with seven watch and act warnings in place.
They include "leave now" advice for the communities of Thornside near Gympie as well as Walkers Point Road and Kinkuna — both affected by the same Woodgate fire.
Sunshine Coast Police Inspector Jon Lewis said there was also concern the fires at Noosa North Shore had been lit deliberately.
"There were three small fires within a 24-hour period," he said.
QFES Incident controller Mark Roderick said fire investigators would make that determination, but believed the fires were either a "reckless or intentional" act.
"If we're under a total fire ban and a fire starts then there's obviously something suspicious," he said.
'Pumping out like a volcano'
About 400 people were evacuated from Buxton, south of Bundaberg, yesterday. Thirty people spent the night in an evacuation centre, but a warning for that area was downgraded last night.
David Grant left his camper-trailer in the Woodgate region yesterday and fled with his three dogs.
"I threw everything I could, as quick as I could, into the car and got out of there," he said.
"The fire was just about 15 minutes behind me.
He spent the night in the evacuation centre and fears he has lost everything.
"I'd say it'd all be a pile of molten metal, from what went through there. There'd be nothing left. I've lost the lot," he said.
"This is my life, it's all I've got left.
"Who knows what tomorrow will bring, I don't know, I don't know what I'm going to do."
A 13-year-old boy was among those who spent the night by the side of Woodgate Road, waiting with a friend of his dad.
He had gone to school yesterday but his parents are on the other side of a roadblock.
"[I'm] a bit sad because all your family's in a different area," he said.
"You don't know if they're OK or not because my phone's dead and no-one has communication."
He said he wished he could say to his family, "I love you all and I hope you are all safe".
Derek Carty was also separated from his partner and seven-month-old baby.
He said he was desperate for any information about when he could return home.
"We've been told so many different things and we want to go home to our families," he said.
"All our phones are flat, we've got no toilets, no water or anything like that … we just want to know when we can go home."
District disaster coordinator Inspector Pat Swindells said it was still too dangerous to let Woodgate residents return.
"The fire and emergency services have actions in place to try and suppress that fire, so we don't know exactly when the road's going to be open or when it will be safe for people to return, " he said.
He said resources were in place to get any remaining residents out if conditions deteriorated again.
'We've still got very high fire dangers'
Michael Knepp, a senior forecaster at the Bureau of Meteorology, said Thursday's fire danger was much lower due to a cooler mass of air moving in and easing wind speeds.
But he warned the severe fire danger would likely return again on Friday, when temperatures are forecast to be about 8 degrees Celsius above average.
However, conditions are set to return to normal next week.
"We'll be seeing an influx of moisture from the coast, so with the influx of moisture we'll see more humid conditions and hopefully … we'll see those conditions continue for the foreseeable future," he said.
"Hopefully next week we're going to see moisture pushing a fair way inland and it looks like the wind regime is fairly good."