City chokes as 5000 hectares burnt out

A section of the huge fire burning behind the Parksville Estate in Gladstone on Wednesday, part of 5000 hectares burnt.
A section of the huge fire burning behind the Parksville Estate in Gladstone on Wednesday, part of 5000 hectares burnt.

THE western suburbs of Gladstone were choking in smoke again yesterday from one of the largest fires witnessed in the region for many years.

Fire crews have been battling the blaze since about 1.30pm on Wednesday.

Gladstone Station Officer Barry Maluga said 5000 hectares of bushland behind New Auckland and Telina was affected so far, however, the fire was still burning last night.

'We are unsure exactly how the fire started, but we believe it started from natural causes such as a piece of glass or piece of metal heating up and igniting surrounding grasses,' he said.

Eleven units from Calliope, Mt Maurice, Benaraby, Boyne Tannum, Westowe and Gladstone were called to the blaze and more than 30 firefighters attended throughout the night.

Officer Maluga said their main concern was establishing 20km long fire control lines around the perimeter of the fire.

'We started at the western flank from Haddock Drive to Harvey Road,'' he said.

'Our main concern was the north- easterly blowing at the time and, if the fire got out of control, it would have jumped into Beecher Forest and threatened a mass of houses on the western side.'

Officer Maluga said that particular fire break was completed at 2am yesterday and the firefighters then concentrated on the fire control line on the south-eastern flank.

"Controlled burns were also completed around one house at Koowin Road and two houses on Kirkwood Road.

'The south-eastern control line was in place around 7.30 Thursday morning.'

Officer Maluga said no houses were threatened during the blaze.

'All the backburn work we completed during the evening was successful and the Calliope brigade were on fire watch all day Thursday.'

Officer Maluga sent a special thank you to the members of the Salvation Army who provided nourishment and refreshment for the firefighters throughout the night.

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FILE PHOTO: Dave Hodgson from Mount Maurice Rural Fire Brigade in 2011.

The fire caused significant smoke across the highway.

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