Queensland Rural Fire Service Woolooga first officer Denis Banks.
Queensland Rural Fire Service Woolooga first officer Denis Banks. Frances Klein

WOOLOOGA FIRE: 'Like nothing seen before in Queensland'

VETERAN Woolooga rural firefighter Denis Banks said there would be no Woolooga town to stand in if it had not been for the relentless effort of hundreds of rural firefighters battling the raging bushfire that burnt more than 10,000 hectares of land over four insidious days.

"There'd be nothing left of this town," Mr Banks said.

"It would have been totally destroyed without rural fireys. No two ways about it."

 

Woolooga fire 2018.
Woolooga fire 2018. Renee Albrecht

The unforgivable bushfire that raged in Woolooga after starting last Wednesday morning was unlike anything seen in Queensland before, Mr Banks said.

 

It made the mammoth volunteer effort that kept it from destroying almost 80 houses and desolating more grazing land even more commendable.

"It was a fire that has never known to be in Queensland - the way it acted and reacted," Mr Banks said.

"Most fires in open country are either a grass fire or a tree top fire - this was a totally air-borne fire."

Up to 200 rural firefighters from the Gympie region, Sunshine Coast and beyond, fought in conditions fuelled by high velocity winds that drove the head of the fire through tinder-dry grazing land, jumping roads and Wide Bay Creek and hitting numerous properties from many sides.

 

WOOLOOGA fire 2018.
WOOLOOGA fire 2018. Renee Albrecht

"Anything the fire could pull into its path it would," Mr Banks said.

"The temperature here in the air was 217C in front of the fire.

"As soon as the wind changed that funnelled the nose of the fire.

"All we could do was stay behind it and stop it from getting bigger.

"Even if you had 1000 trucks here - you still couldn't do any more."

 

Photo Renee Albrecht/Gympie Times
Photo Renee Albrecht/Gympie Times Renee Albrecht

Mr Banks said all firefighters should be commended for their incredible efforts in one of the most daunting jobs in the world.

"We had trucks go into a safe area in the black and all of a sudden the fires were over the top of the trucks until you back them out.

"Fighting fires is the most dangerous situation you'll ever be in. Because it's unpredictable.

"But we're trained to do it.

"We were lucky and we never lost any houses and there were fires that went right up to them."

 

Woolooga fire 2018.
Woolooga fire 2018. Renee Albrecht
Gympie Times


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