A ferocious bushfire described as a "wild beast" has claimed one life and destroyed at least five homes in southern Queensland.
About 200 people have been forced to flee their homes as firefighters battle the Western Downs blaze, with another tough day expected on Wednesday.
Western Downs Mayor Paul McVeigh said their tight knit community was reeling after police found a body late on Tuesday in the fire-ravaged Tara region, west of Brisbane.
"With the tragedy last night, it has really knocked our community around," he told AAP.
Mr McVeigh said more than 170 people sought refuge at evacuation centres in Tara and surrounding towns on Tuesday night, taking the total to about 200.
He said some people had "lost everything" but conceded it was hard to estimate how many properties had been destroyed by the unpredictable blaze.
"At the moment the official count is five (properties lost) but unfortunately with such a ferocious fire we know the numbers will grow," he said.
"Because it is so dangerous to go in there we don't have a count."
The mayor said fatigue had become an issue for firefighters as they battle a blaze that has been tough to control due to wind changes, with flames reportedly 10 to 15 metres high.
"It's a bit of a wild beast at the moment," he said.
"Fires are such a hard thing to defend against because the direction changes ... we have had the wind swinging around quite regularly."
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) currently have "leave immediately" warnings out for Tara, Wieambilla, Kogan, Goranba and Weranga.
Residents at Millmerran Woods in the state's southwest have also been asked to evacuate their homes with a bushfire burning about 2000 hectares.
QFES warned it was still not safe to return for people at nearby Cypress Gardens and Millmerran Downs, with about 12 people in evacuation centres.
Mr McVeigh said the Western Downs did not expect much relief on Wednesday.
"The wind is getting up again and they are talking 37 degrees," he said.
"I think we are in for a very, very tough day."
Mr McVeigh said the tragic discovery on Tuesday emphasised the importance of adhering to QFES warnings.
Power outages caused by the blaze have ensured radio is the best way for Western Downs residents to stay informed, he said.
Firefighters across Queensland have been on high alert with above-average temperatures and increased winds forecast mid-week.
Extreme fire danger ratings are expected for the state's Gulf Country, central west, northwest and Channel Country.
The Bureau of Meteorology said a southerly change would bring cooler conditions moving through from the Channel Country in the state's west later this week, with a chance of rain in the Western Downs by Friday.
Mr McVeigh said there may be more challenges ahead but the Western Downs community was banding together.
"When we have tragedies like this we come together and we support each other," he said.
"I am very, very proud of our community at this very tough time."
Australian Associated Press
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