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Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - LIFESTYLE -

GOLD COAST BUL­LETIN Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 16, 2004

AS many as 360 schoolchil­dren were evac­u­ated from their class­rooms at Ocean Shores while flames came within me­tres of ru­ral homes.

Fire­fight­ers were back­burn­ing to keep the Ocean Shores blaze within con­tain­ment lines, and they re­mained con­fi­dent the fire would not pose any threat to

prop­erty or houses un­less there was a dras­tic change in weather.

A fire at Cabarita, which briefly had home­own­ers in a ner­vous sweat, was be­ing held and was un­likely to cause more dam­age.

The Ocean Shores fire flared late on the pre­vi­ous Thurs­day night, ig­nit­ing near a peat fire that had been slowly burn­ing for sev­eral weeks in the Billinudgel Na­ture Re­serve.

Bil­low­ing black smoke could be seen for kilo­me­tres as five fire he­li­copters bom­barded the flames with thou­sands of litres of wa­ter.

The fire ini­tially raced across dry bush­land to­wards Ocean Shores, prompt­ing the lo­cal pri­mary school to be evac­u­ated.

Prin­ci­pal Ken Bushell paid trib­ute to the schoolchil­dren, some as young as five, for the way they han­dled it.

“The kids were very calm and col­lected,” he said.

“We have evac­u­ated for floods be­fore but this was the first time be­cause of a fire.”

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