Australia

Two teenagers charged over Sunshine Coast fires

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A 14-year-old and 15-year-old have been charged for allegedly lighting a Sunshine Coast bushfire.

Two teens have been charged for allegedly lighting a bushfire that forced thousands of Sunshine Coast residents to flee their homes to escape the inferno.

Queensland Police allege several young people lit the blaze in bushland on Monday afternoon before it quickly spread towards Peregian Beach.

A 14-year-old Peregian Springs boy and a 15-year-old Coolum Beach girl have been charged with endangering particular property by fire.

Dark smoke billows from a bushfire near Peregian Beach on the Sunshine Coast.
Dark smoke billows from a bushfire near Peregian Beach on the Sunshine Coast.
AAP

Queensland Police urged others to refrain from lighting fires.

"With Queensland continuing to experience extreme and dangerous fire conditions throughout the state, police are reminding the public of the dangers of lighting fires or committing acts of arson."

A number of children have been rebuked by Queensland Police over the deliberate lighting of fires across the state.

Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll has told the Seven Network at least eight blazes have been traced back to deliberate lighting by children, with offenders arrested, cautioned or "dealt with under our restorative justice processes."

"Every circumstance has been different but all dealt with in different ways. All have been acted on," she said.

Residents return home

The most dangerous blaze at Peregian on the Sunshine Coast has slowed and thousands of residents displaced when the day began have since gone home.

They bunked in with friends and family, sheltered in evacuation centres where they were comforted for an army of volunteers or in the homes of strangers who offered them somewhere to stay.

Noosa Council Mayor Tony Wellington said the news that it was safe to go home was met with glee.

"People were at the road blocks to wait to get back to their homes and as soon as the road blocks were lifted there was significant jubilation - cheers went up," he said.

"I know many people will be relived to get back to assess the damage."

A blaze rages near residences in Peregian Springs on the Sunshine Coast.
A blaze rages near residences in Peregian Springs on the Sunshine Coast.
JOHN PARK

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Deputy Commissioner Mike Wassing said other fires burning across the state were not threatening any properties.

"The fires are doing what we expected them to do and conditions are looking good over the next couple of days, but we've still got a lot more work to do," he said.

A fire at Stanthorpe and Applethorpe has been put out, and residents there have been told they can also return to their properties.

Cooler weather conditions forecast

The Bureau of Meteorology's Richard Wardle says cooler temperatures and lighter winds expected on Thursday are favourable for firefighters, who are being given support from interstate crews.

However, the fire danger will spike again on Friday and Saturday when temperatures heat up.

Queensland Deputy Premier Jackie Trad (left) meets evacuee Helen Burns at an evacuation centre in Noosa on the Sunshine Coast.
Queensland Deputy Premier Jackie Trad (left) meets evacuee Helen Burns at an evacuation centre in Noosa on the Sunshine Coast.
AAP

"I suppose the good news is that even though we're going to see a south-westerly wind burst like we did over the past weekend, we're not expecting that to be as strong as we experienced over the past weekend," Mr Wardle said.

Seventeen homes and five commercial properties have been destroyed by bushfires since Thursday, with many more damaged.

A special police task force has been established to investigate whether any of the fires were caused by arson.

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