Caves Christmas spirit wins out over fresh fire threats
Stall holders were unpacking their wares for the Caves Christmas Fair this afternoon while just a few streets away, around Camoo Caves Rd, fires posed a new threat to residents.
The water bomber made spectacular passes over the smoky valley as emergency services rallied in preparation for another long night.
Jace Smith said the local school was evacuated just a few minutes before 3 o'clock and he and his great-grandmother were ready to leave her home if instructed.
Gardener Di Kerr has been a local for 15 years and this is the third time she's had to brace for fire danger.
"I'll just roll down the side of the truck and go," she said.
Baker Peta Dixon says she won't be hanging around to rescue her mulberry tarts if the authorities tell stall holders to leave.
"The fire fighters are welcome to eat my cakes," she said.
John Richardson of Yeppoon isn't too worried; he says his well-trained camels only take 15 minutes to load onto their float.
Taylor Thompson's lending some Christmas colour to the bar where her grandmother Jenny is preparing for the first wave of evacuees who were told by emergency services to leave their homes around 4pm.
"It's been a horrible few days around the region," Ms Thompson said.
"But the firies are doing such a good job and we've lost remarkably little property."
Keith Joyce has lived in the area for more than 30 years and he puts this year's fires down to a lack of burning off.
"There's a lot of fuel lying around," he said.
Florian Ast has driven his donut and coffee stall up from Rockhampton to help Caves residents celebrate a Christmas that, hopefully, they can be thankful for.
There's a sense of déjà vu for the Gracemere Lions club members who evacuated their own residences just two days ago during the height of Queensland's inferno season.
Selwyn Nufer went to his wife's side at the Eventide nursing home while Judith Letchford stayed with friends in Rockhampton.
They won't let a few fires get in the way of the club's charter to provide support to the local community.
"Can you please tell your readers our Gracemere Christmas Fair will be going ahead on Lawrie St from 7am til 11am tomorrow?" Ms Letchford asked.