Teens questioned as Queensland fires rage

A fire that's destroyed homes and forced hundreds to flee on Queensland's Sunshine Coast may have been deliberately lit, as a fire chief warns "anything could happen".

Police are interviewing a group of teenagers over the blaze that's destroyed at least two homes and a shed in the Peregian Beach area, south of Noosa.

There are fears other houses may have been lost to the fast-moving blaze that broke out on Monday afternoon and rapidly raced towards beachside communities.

The fire is currently affecting Peregian Beach and Peregian Breeze Estate and is burning north, towards Marcus Beach.

It is not considered to be under control and the situation remains extremely volatile.

Three teenage boys reportedly came to the attention of police after admitting to lighting the Peregian fire in a local internet chat room.

The Peregian Beach Surf and Lifesaving Club posted on their Facebook page that they were sent a screen shot of the chat room message.

"It has been reported that three teenage boys handed themselves in after the screenshot was passed around by their friends," the surf club posted.

Authorities say the fire danger across Queensland remains high, with the Peregian fire of primary concern.

"We've got many, many crews on the ground there at the moment," QFES Assistant Commissioner John Cawcutt has told ABC radio.

"It is within its containment lines at the moment but with the expected gusty winds and the ability for embers to take off anything could happen."

A 'leave now' order is current for residents of Peregian Beach, Peregian Breeze Estate and Marcus Beach.

Prepare to leave warnings are in place for residents north of the fire front including at Weyba, Weyba Downs, Peregian Springs, and Castaways Beach.

About 70 blazes are still burning across the state, with 15,000 hectares scorched since the fire crisis began late last week.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says emergency payments for fire victims in Queensland and NSW are now available.

He's paid tribute to emergency services personnel, volunteers and residents who have worked together in the face of the ongoing threat.

"Once again we've seen on display the great character and care of Australians when they're facing these sorts of disasters," he told reporters.

"I want to thank everybody, all the volunteers ... supporting the firefighters, and indeed the firefighters themselves, they're true national heroes."

The other major fire of concern on Tuesday is the one that's destroyed homes and the heritage listed eco-lodge in the Gold Coast hinterland. It remains out of control.

"The whole southeast corner has got severe conditions and it's a tinder box. They're certainly testing our firefighters on the ground," Mr Cawcutt said.

Specialist wildfire investigators are working with police amid suspicions a number of fires were deliberately lit, including the Peregian blaze.

About 400 people were forced to flee their homes overnight and head to evacuation centres in the neighbouring Sunshine Coast Regional Council and the Noosa Shire Council areas.

Acting Sunshine Coast mayor Tim Dwyer has spent time with evacuees at the Coolum Surf Club.

"The frustration, the angst, the uncertainty. You could just see it written all over their faces. These are really trying times."

On Monday night, fire crews managed to clear a safe path to evacuate around 100 guests and staff sheltering from a fire at O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat in the Gold Coast hinterland.

The blaze, which has destroyed eight home, cut access to the guest house at Canungra on Monday night.

However, the fire crews managed to defend 10 nearby dwellings and provide a way out for those inside the guest house, who left the area in convoy in buses and cars.

A further 30 homes were later evacuated from a nearby part of Lamington National Park, with the area still inaccessible.

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