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Stanthorpe fire evacuees allowed home

Residents in the Queensland border towns of Stanthorpe and Applethorpe who spent the night in bushfire evacuation centres are beginning to return to their homes, but have been warned it could only be hours before they again have to flee.

An emergency situation remains in place in the region, where at least seven homes were destroyed on Friday night.

More than 300 people spent the night in evacuation centres in Stanthorpe and Warwick.

The New England Highway reopened on Saturday morning, with residents to the east being allowed to return to their homes.

Thulimbah, Cottonvale and Dalveen residents have also been allowed to return home, however those living west of the highway have been told it is still too dangerous.

The entire area remains a hotspot, with conditions expected to worsen on Saturday afternoon when the southwesterly winds intensify.

"You should be ready to leave the area because the situation could get worse quickly," Queensland Fire and Emergency Services warned.

Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie said it was impossible to predict how the next few hours and days would unfold.

"There is a lot of uncertainty about what this bushfire is going to bring for the remainder of the day," she said.

Cr Dobie said the fire had destroyed the town's power substation and water pumping stations, but that generators had been installed and that only a small handful of people remained affected.