SCORCHER: Errol Noye, part of a volunteer fire fighting team with his wife Pat, was part of the burn-off at Wurdong Heights this weekend.
SCORCHER: Errol Noye, part of a volunteer fire fighting team with his wife Pat, was part of the burn-off at Wurdong Heights this weekend. Matt Taylor GLA020618FIRE

Smoke billows from Wurdong during burn-off

FLAMES flickered and grey smoke billowed on the western side of Wurdong Heights over the weekend but the potentially dangerous fire was contained by rural fire fighting services.

Gladstone Region rural fire fighting services conducted a mitigation burn, better known as a burn-off, to reduce any future bush fires in the area.

Referred to by firefighters as "Operation Cool Down", the exercise was conducted under the watchful eye of Benaraby Rural Fire Brigade first officer David Kretschmer.

"We are trying to protect the western edge of Wurdong Heights by burning alongside of the hill," officer Kretschmer said

Protecting housing in the Wurdong Heights area was the long-term plan of the back-burning operation to reduce fuel source for potential bush fires.

"If we get a wildfire up the highway alongside of Sawmill Road, it's very hilly, difficult to work in and if it jumps the railway line it can't come up the hill to threaten housing in the next valley," he said.

Helping to contain the controlled burn off along the hilly terrain were 31 fire fighters, seven trucks and several support vehicles.

The area planned for the burn off was approximately 35 hectares - and the operation was conducted with expert professionalism.

"The operation was broken up in an Alpha and November sector, with crews working along the ridgeline towards the north and the south," officer Kretschmer said.



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