Firefighters nervous as blaze burns in dry conditions

Four rural fire crews attended a large bushfire at Iveragh on Tuesday, getting the fire under control and back-burning.
Four rural fire crews attended a large bushfire at Iveragh on Tuesday, getting the fire under control and back-burning. Brenda Strong

A FIRE burning at Iveragh since Thursday has burned through at least 400ha so far and come close to a firefighter's property.

The rural fire service spent three hours on Tuesday setting up a back-burn in an effort to contain the blaze near Thwaites Rd, which jumped containment lines on Sunday morning.

The blaze is burning between between Lake Awoonga and the Bruce Highway south of Gladstone.

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Crews are being assisted by a strong south to south-easterly breeze, with Benaraby Rural Fire Brigade second officer Paul Finlay saying the breeze was heaven-sent.

"It is blowing quite a bit, but it's blowing in the right direction for us at the moment, so that will help with the burn. If it was blowing in any other direction it would be a bit of a worry, but at the moment the wind is in our favour," Mr Finlay said.

Estimating the fire front at about 10 to 15km long, Mr Finlay's own property escaped a close shave.

"When the fire went north on Sunday morning it went north towards the state forest and Pikes Crossing. It came to within about half a kilometre of my property, but luckily we were able to box that in," Mr Finlay said.

The fire has not yet claimed any properties due to the favourable breeze pushing it away from danger.

Mr Finlay said unusually dry conditions for this time of year were making firefighters in the region nervous.

"If we don't get any rain soon, this fire season could last for a couple of months yet. We're really hanging out for some rain."

However, there's little sign of relief yet, with central Queensland in the middle of a heatwave, with sizzling temperatures in Gladstone and Rockhampton ensuring an uncomfortably warm start to the new year.

The Bureau of Meteorology said there had been an unusually dry start to the summer period so far, but the wet season was just around the corner.

Attempts to back-burn on Tuesday were delayed when a nearby permitted burn fired-up because of the strong wind, forcing crews to deviate to put that fire out before getting on with the main back-burning operation.

If a fire is in your area:

  • Listen to local broadcasts or check websites for updates.
  • Close windows and doors and shut blinds.
  • Take down curtains and move furniture away from windows.
  • Block downpipes (at the top) and fill gutters with water if possible.
  • Wet down the sides of buildings and nearby shrubbery in the likely path of the bushfire.

- Source: QRFS

Rural fire crews at Iveragh on Tuesday.
Rural fire crews at Iveragh on Tuesday.

Topics:  fire firefighters gladstone heatwave qfrs

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