Huge blaze start of deadly fire season
A MASSIVE fire burned through hectares of bushland near Ravensbourne at the weekend, at one stage threatening homes.
A Queensland Fire and Emergency Services spokeswoman said yesterday "the cavalry" had been sent in to deal with the blaze because of fears that increasing temperatures could escalate the fire.
Last night 12 crews were battling the blaze that flared up on Saturday afternoon.
The 500ha fire at Buaraba South had earlier threatened houses and led police to shut down sections of Seventeen Mile Rd because of fallen trees.
A council grader and privately-owned grader worked to install containment lines and fall-back lines for at-risk properties.
A smoky haze blanketed parts of Toowoomba yesterday, with Superintendent Tony Johnstone, who manages rural operations for south-west Queensland, urging residents with respiratory problems to close their windows.
He said five brigades worked until midnight on Saturday, many of their members volunteers.
An aircraft was called in to map the fire on Saturday and again yesterday, providing up-to-date information to fire crews.
Supt Johnstone said the mapping was linked to command vehicles on the ground, enabling firefighters to see the fire in real-time and plan a response.
The fire was burning in mostly inaccessible bushland in the vicinity of Seventeen Mile Rd and Palmtree Dr.
The blaze originally started burning on Tuesday but was mostly extinguished that day.
It reignited with vigour about 1.45pm on Saturday.
Supt Johnstone said the region's fire season had started late and urged people not to be complacent.
"Yes it looks green, but it will still burn," he said.
"If we do have a windy day that could cause problems."
Supt Johnstone said landholders, fire brigades and councils had done a lot of preparation to mitigate fires.
He paid tribute to the volunteers who were in the line of duty.
"They work all day and give up their night to fight fires. I can't speak highly enough of them," he said.
"We need to thank their employers too.
"Some of those people have to leave work, or go back tired. We really appreciate it."