Flames on Tin Can Bay Rd, from a previous fire.
Flames on Tin Can Bay Rd, from a previous fire. Craig Warhurst

Lightning ignites mystery bush fire at Bay

MYSTERY surrounds a bushfire at Tin Can Bay that started when an almighty 12m high gum tree was struck by lightning.

Nobody remembers a storm in the area, but there is no other explanation for the obliterated tree that was split in two, stripped of its massive branches and surrounded by burnt scrub.

Tin Can Bay firefighters were called to an area of bushland bordering the Tin Can Bay Sporting Shooters Club near Rifle Fish Rd at 6.30pm last night after reports of a tree on fire.

On arrival the four man crew found more than two hectares of burning trees and smouldering bushland.

MYSTERY STORM: The remnants of a tree struck by lightning at Tin Can Bay that started a bushfire.
MYSTERY STORM: The remnants of a tree struck by lightning at Tin Can Bay that started a bushfire. Desley Goldsworthy

Tin Can Bay Queensland Fire and Rescue auxiliary captain Desley Goldsworthy said lightning was the only explanation for the cause of the fire that had gone unnoticed for days.

"In 27 years I've been in the service I haven't seen anything like it before - the way it hit the tree and went down the centre and split it,” Mrs Goldsworthy said.

She believed the fire had possibly been burning since Saturday undetected after the lightning strike.

The only explanation she could find for why nearby residents did not report smoke was that it raced quickly through the area of thick bushland during the night.

But it could have been a different story.

"Fortunately I had done conducted controlled burns a few months ago,” Mrs Goldsworthy said.

"That was the saving grace because it had nowhere to go.”

Mrs Goldsworthy said the circumstances had been a real head-scratcher.

The firefighters spent about an hour containing the remaining blaze.

UNMISSABLE: A spectacular fire at Wallu photographed from Tin Can Bay in 2014.
UNMISSABLE: A spectacular fire at Wallu photographed from Tin Can Bay in 2014. Contributed
Gympie Times


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