THIS is how close Queensland's bushfires came to causing complete and utter devastation.

A bushfire forecast map released today shows the path of yesterday's catastrophic bushfire tracking straight towards the town of Gracemere.

ROLLING COVERAGE: Emergency situation, residents told to flee

DEVASTATED: Family loses everything

SOUTHEAST: Crews remain at Sunshine Coast blaze

The simulation map shows the movement of the fire, which erupted near Stanwell around 3pm, moving rapidly towards Gracemere.

The orange and yellow shows the location of the catastrophic flames, while the red depicts flying embers jumping ahead of the blaze.


The forecast tracking map shows the fires heading towards Gracemere earlier in the week.
The forecast tracking map shows the fires heading towards Gracemere earlier in the week.


Authorities were forced to make the call on evacuating the town of around 8500 people as conditions on the ground worsened and the fire jumped ahead of forecasting maps.

"The simulator uses the most up to date weather and yesterday the weather was really dynamic," Queensland Fire and Emergency Services inspector Andrew Strugess said.

"The forecasting took a lot of work to keep up with how rapidly the weather was changing and continued to get worse and worse.



"The red pixels … show the ember density and those firestorm conditions we were talking about leading up to yesterday. So they were impacting, they were simulated to impact the township of Gracemere.

"The good news is, that complete picture wasn't what transpired.

"There was an incredible suppression effort with aircraft and firefighters on the ground to protect the township.


Fire approaches Gracemere on Wednesday.
Fire approaches Gracemere on Wednesday.


"We're not out of the woods and we'll be on our A game again today."

Close to 200 other bushfires were also tearing through the state at the same time, as authorities scrambled to protect properties and save lives.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said everything was factored in when considering coordination efforts from the Emergency Services Complex in Kedron.

"The reason why we've put the map out is to show very clearly that Gracemere was directly in the line of this fire," she said.

"That is why we took the action that we did to evacuate the town and thankfully the town was defended and containment lines are now well established."