Crews return to firestorm as volatile conditions threaten
SUNSHINE Coast volunteer firefighters were heading north this morning back to the Woolooga fire front west of Gympie that has seen 2000ha razed overnight.
Nine appliances supported by 26 rural fire fighting volunteers from across the Sunshine Coast were moving in to replace the 30-plus from Maleny, Beerwah and other parts of the region worked through yesterday afternoon and then into the early hours of this morning in support of their Wide Bay colleagues.
Conditions remain volatile with temperatures expected to soar to 29C on the Sunshine Coast today and with a strong southerly wind shift due this evening.
Dan Sanderman of the Maleny Rural Fire Brigade said they arrived at the fire front to find everywhere they looked either burning or burnt out.
He said they attempted to assist cattle burnt by the fast-moving grass fire as dozers moved in to help create fire breaks around homes.
"We did a lengthy back burn and established containment lines," Mr Sanderman said.
"We got there around 2pm and I think I crawled into bed at around 1am.
"It was full on for a while and then we'd get a rest to rehydrate, organise a plan of attack and then go in again.
"There were cattle yards, water tanks and fencing burned out. The damage would be in the millions of dollars."
Acting Sunshine Coast Rural Fire Services area director Andrew Allan said nine appliances supported by 26 volunteers from across the region would rendezvous at the Golden Nugget Service Centre south of Gympie at 10am before heading to the fire front.
Mr Allan said the volunteers had been drawn from a number of brigades to not leave any one part of the region exposed.
"We're expecting very high winds through here later in the day," he said.
"The Sunshine Coast is not as bad as the rest of the region but we are vigilant. It's the one from left field that always bites."
Simon McDermott of McDermott Aviation said its spotter aircraft were over the Woolooga fire scene by 9.30am today ready to direct a fleet of water bombing helicopters that also engaged the blaze on Wednesday afternoon.