Cool weather change offers relief for firefighters

UPDATE 5AM: A cool and wet change to the Darling Downs region came as a welcomed reprieve for firefighters who have been battling large bushfires for the past week.

A Toowoomba Regional Operations spokeswoman said the weather had "made a large impact" on firefighting efforts around the region.

She said had the weather remained hot, dry and windy, the situation would have become far worse.

Fires to the west of Toowoomba near Roma and the Arcadia Valley had been brought under control and would be put back in the control of landholders and primary producer brigades last night.

The same would be done with fires burning near Charleville, she said. 

However, the large fires which have been burning near Crows Nest and Ravensbourne the past week would still be monitored by rural fire brigades until at least Wednesday.

"Fires around these parts will be continuously monitored by our control centre until at least Wednesday evening, weather permitting," the spokeswoman said.

"Everything is still well within the containment lines but we will still maintain a presence in the area."

Queensland Fire and Rescue Service had placed a total fire ban on South West Queensland last week, however that ban has now been lifted due to the cool, wet conditions.

SATURDAY: Multiple fire crews are on as several large, slow-moving bushfires burn in the Ravensbourne National Park area near Ravensbourne and Crows Nest.

These fires, sparked as a result of lightning strikes in the area, have been burning since last Saturday.

Areas in North of Ravensbourne National Park and East of Crestbrook and between Brennan Road and Kippa Creek Roads and along Esk-Hampton east of Brennan Road will be affected by this fire.

Fire crews conducted backburning operations and reinforced fire breaks overnight.

These efforts assisted firefighters to further strengthen containment lines.

There is no immediate threat to properties however with a predicted weather change for today, a high to very high danger has been predicted due to temperatures reaching 28 degrees and winds to change from south westerly to south easterly direction around 4pm.

People travelling in these areas in particular along the Esk - Hampton road, east of Brennan Road should proceed with caution due to smoke and QFRS vehicles, traffic controllers are in place and people should be made aware of some delays as QFRS deals with fallen trees.

Now is the time for people to ensure their fire safety plan is in place. If they haven't done so already, residents are urged to finalise preparing their property and visit the Rural Fire Service website to download a bushfire survival plan.

Residents should consider taking precautionary measures including:

  • Put on protective clothing
  • Drink lots of water
  • Move car/s to a safe location
  • Close windows and doors and shut blinds
  • Bring pets inside and restrain them (leash, cage or secure room) and provide water
  • Wet down fine fuels close to buildings
  • Remove garden furniture, doormats and other items
  • Seal all gaps under doors and screens
  • Fill containers with water - eg bath, sinks, buckets, wheelie bins, etc
  • Have ladders ready for roof space access (inside) and against roof (outside)
  • Have generator or petrol pump ready
  • Check and patrol outside for embers and extinguish any spot fires and seek shelter as
  • the fire front arrives.

Regular updated information will be provided on the QFRS Rural Operations website at www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au or at www.fire.qld.gov.au or by listening to their local radio station.
 

UPDATE 3.30PM: Redbank Creek couple Paul and Liz Matson are relieved backburning around their rural home has saved it from a large grassfire.

They have watched from the deck of their Brennan Rd home as the fire has expanded across the Deongwar State Forest, east of Lake Cressbrook, since it was started by a lightning strike last Saturday.

Their fears peaked last night when the slow-moving blaze reached the boundary of their hobby farm.

"This week there has been lots of watching," Mrs Matson said.

"Every day you think you have got it under control then it is coming from another direction."

She said fire crews had done a lot to save their home by back burning around their property edges.

"They were fantastic."

Queensland Fire and Rescue Service south-west region Inspector Eddie Lacko said crews would tomorrow continue strengthening containment lines on the eastern edges of the fire to combat its expansion driven by westerly winds.

Redbank Creek couple Liz and Paul Matson inspect where the grassfire reached the boundary of their property.
Redbank Creek couple Liz and Paul Matson inspect where the grassfire reached the boundary of their property. Stuart Cumming

Insp. Lacko was hopeful rain forecast for the weekend would fall over the fire areas.

"We'll take anything to dampen things down and give firefighters a rest," he said.

He was grateful for the cooperation from local residents.

"The community has been terrific."

UPDATE 1PM: Firefighters are battling 33 blazes across Queensland, with local crews focusing on Crows Nest and Ravensbourne.

>> See amazing photos of a fire tornado from outback Queensland here 

The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service issued a Fire and Activity Report at 12.30pm, which offered advice for the following bushfires burning across the Darling Downs and south-west:

Ravensbourne and Crows Nest

  • Multiple QFRS crews are at the scene and continue to respond to several large, slow-moving bushfires burning in the Ravensbourne National Park area near Ravensbourne and Crows Nest.
  • These fires, which were sparked as a result of lightning strikes in the area, have been burning since Saturday, 20 October.
  • There is no immediate threat to property at this time.
  • For more information go to: www.fire.qld.gov.au/news/view.asp?id=8183

Grantham (Lockyer Valley)

  • Five fire crews are at the scene of a large grass fire currently burning at Lockyer State Forest, Grantham.
  • This fire broke out around 1pm on Sunday, October 21. Fire crews are currently monitoring the fire.
  • Backburning operations were completed yesterday, however, residents will continue to experience smoke in the area.
  • Motorists travelling along the Warrego Hwy are asked to drive to conditions.

Yuleba North (near Maranoa)

  • Fire crews are working on scene at a grass fire burning near Bundi Road, Yulebah North.
  • This fire, which has been burning since Sunday burning safely within containment lines at this time.
A large bushfire is threatening Miles and surrounding areas.
A large bushfire is threatening Miles and surrounding areas.

Baffle West (near Roma)

  • Firefighters worked overnight to control a grass fire burning near Arcadia Valley Road, Baffle West.
  • The fire, which has a 20km fire front, is burning within containment lines.
  • Firefighters are monitoring the fire at this time. This fire broke out on Sunday

Captains Mountain (near Toowoomba)

  • Firefighters are currently on scene at a grass fire located near Captains Mountain Road, Captains Mountain.
  • This fire is currently under control, however, firefighters will remain at the incident to monitor the blaze.

UPDATE: 10.40AM: Multiple fire crews are at the scene and continue to respond to several large, slow-moving bushfires burning in the Ravensbourne National Park area near Ravensbourne and Crows Nest.

These fires, which were sparked as a result of lightning strikes in the area, have been burning since Saturday.

Fire crews conducted backburning operations and reinforced fire breaks overnight. These efforts assisted firefighters to further strengthen containment lines.

There is no immediate threat to property at this time, however, forecasts indicate a weather change this afternoon, with high temperatures of up to 32 degrees and winds of up to 21km/h predicted.

The fire danger rating will also increase from high to very high in the area tomorrow.

The areas north of Ravensbourne National Park and east of Crestbrook, between Brennan Road and Kippa Creek Road may be affected by these fires today.

Residents will be impacted by a large amount of smoke and are urged to closed windows and doors.

Residents should ensure their bushfire safety plan is in place.

If they have not already done so, residents are asked to finalise preparing their property and visit the Rural Fire Service website to download a bushfire survival plan.

Residents are urged to listen to local radio and television and view the QFRS websites for more information and updates.

Fire threatens a home near Ravensbourne where fire authorities are back burning. Photo: Stuart Cumming/The Chronicle
Fire threatens a home near Ravensbourne where fire authorities are back burning. Photo: Stuart Cumming/The Chronicle Stuart Cumming

UPDATE 9AM: A helicopter crew is this morning conducting reconnaissance of grassfires burning in the Crows Nest and Ravensbourne areas as ground crews continue back burning efforts.

Queensland Fire and Rescue Service south-west region Acting Inspector John Welke said last night's mild fire danger conditions would increase throughout today as temperatures climbed towards an expected top of 32 degrees.

Darling Downs crews have been joined by firefighters from Brisbane, North Coast and Far North Queensland regions to strengthen containment lines in Three Mile, Tin Mine and Sebastapool Rds east of Crows Nest and Whipbird Dr, Weller Dr and Brennan Rd at Ravensbourne.

"We are confident our containment lines will hold," Act. Insp. Welke said.

He said there was no current threat to property.

UPDATE 7.30AM: The blanket of smoke haze which yesterday blew in from bushfires blazing in the region is expected to hang around today.

The haze was drawn in when winds changed to a north-easterly direction.

The Bureau of Meteorology has declared today's fire danger to be very high to severe.

Smoke haze in Toowoomba last night.
Smoke haze in Toowoomba last night. Nev Madsen

YESTERDAY 5.30PM: A WIND change has brought a heavy smoke haze over Toowoomba.

North-easterly breezes have dragged the smoke in from bushfires still blazzing around the Downs.

The smoke haze was visible to Lockyer Valley residents for most of the day.

>> See amazing photos of a fire tornado from outback Queensland here 

A smoke haze settles over Toowoomba on Thursday afternoon.
A smoke haze settles over Toowoomba on Thursday afternoon. Nev Madsen

However the change in wind direction has caused Toowoomba to also be blanketed in smoke.

The haze is expected to hang around tomorrow while a high to very high fire danger is being predicted by the Bureau of Meteorology.

YESTERDAY 2.40PM: Reinforcements are helping the south-west region's tired firefighters prepare for a weather-driven peak in fire danger.

Queensland Fire and Rescue Service south-west regional manager of rural operations Wayne Waltisbuhl said 25 firefighters from Brisbane and Cairns arrived this afternoon to relieve some of the firefighters who had worked on blazes north of Toowoomba this week.

Today's efforts have been focussed on strengthening containment lines on the eastern side of the fires burning at Crows Nest and Ravensbourne ahead of an expected change of wind direction.

Easterly winds experienced for the majority of this week will swing around to come from the north west early tomorrow.

He said the main areas of concern were along Brennan Rd and Whipbird Dr.

"It is just an absolute bomb ready to go off out here," Mr Waltisbuhl said.

"Every time you head out it just gets worse and worse."

He said about 150 firefighters had travelled to the south west region to lend a hand.

"I'm comfortable with the resourcing we have for the next three to four days."

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Ben Annells said the Darling Downs would endure very high fire danger conditions tomorrow, reaching severe in the area west of Inglewood.

Toowoomba is expected to reach 32 degrees tomorrow, cooling to 26 on Saturday and 21 on Sunday.

YESTERDAY 12.50PM: Fire authorities are urging Darling Downs residents to remain vigilant with conditions expected to worsen in coming days.

Temperatures are expected to hit the mid-30s by Friday, creating a very high fire danger.

Fire crews are battling up to 50 grassfires across Queensland, including near Crows Nest and Grantham.

YESTERDAY 9.10AM: Fire crews are this morning focussing attention on stopping a Ravensbourne fire from spreading beyond containment lines.

Residents in Seventeen Mile, Whipbird and Weller Rds have had their watch and act warning cancelled. However, they are still being advised to be wary of the conditions.

They are urged to ensure their bushfire safety plan is in place and to seek regularly updated information from the Rural Fire Brigade website.

Meanwhile, residents east of Crows Nest in the Tin Mine Rd and Three Mile Rd area are being advised to close their doors and windows and remain indoors if they are susceptible to respiratory illness.

Fire crews are conducting back burning in the area to contain a large, slow-moving grassfire which broke out yesterday.  

>> See amazing photos of a fire tornado from outback Queensland here 

YESTERDAY 7.30AM: Three Mile Rd resident Alan Beazley's sense of home security in the face of raging grassfires has been bolstered by support from the Crows Nest community.

Mr Beazley, his wife and their son were among those residents who remained in their homes on Tuesday after being doorknocked by police warning of the immediate fire threat in the region.

Andrew Barnes inspects fire damage to his property east of Crows Nest yesterday.
Andrew Barnes inspects fire damage to his property east of Crows Nest yesterday. Nev Madsen

"The wind was blowing in the right direction to keep it away from us at the time," Mr Beazley said.

However, he was prepared to leave if the situation changed.

"I've had a few mates from Crows Nest ring up and see if I needed a hand with anything."

Water bomber planes were called in from Toowoomba after back-burning efforts along Sebastapool Rd jumped containment lines in steep terrain near the Lake Cressbrook dam wall.

Queensland Fire and Rescue Service south-west region Acting Inspector John Welke said two of the water bombers concentrated on the break-out yesterday afternoon while a third water bomber assisted crews putting in containment lines on Three Mile Rd.

"We will have to continue water bombing for a couple of hours," Act. Insp. Welke said

"There is no threat to property."

Meanwhile, crews rushed to a large grassfire in the Lockyer Valley yesterday after it threatened to break containment lines.

The grassfire was burning in state forest near the intersection of Sandy Ck and Fordes Rds.

Director of regional operations for south-west region Acting Chief Superintendent Jeff King said most of the fires burning in the Roma and Charleville districts since the weekend were yesterday contained.

Water bombers assisted ground crews and landholders in their efforts to save property.

"They have worked together really well when you consider the amount of fires that had started from lightning in the dry storms out there," he said.

WEDNESDAY 1.20PM: Strong winds are hampering attempts to control a grassfire burning near Crows Nest.

The fire broke containment lines about an hour ago.

Fire crews thought last night that they had contained the blaze which was threatening some properties.

The fire has been fuelled by strong easterly winds.

WEDNESDAY 10.30AM: Five fire crews are battling a large grassfire burning near Grantham.

Rural fire brigades back burn near Crows Nest.
Rural fire brigades back burn near Crows Nest. Dave Noonan

Burning in the Lockyer State Forest off Wallers Rd, Grantham, more crews are responding to the blaze, which has been burning since 1pm on Sunday.

Fire crews are monitoring the fire and preparing for back burning operations, which will occur later this afternoon between Sandy Creek Road, Grantham and Seventeen Mile Road Helidon, with containment lines being strengthened on Seventeen Mile Road.

WEDNESDAY 9AM: A helicopter water bomber is today expected to assist firefighting efforts as authorities try to bring a Crows Nest blaze under control.

Crews monitored the blaze over night after a Watch and Act message for the Crows Nest area was cancelled.

The threat to homes in Three Mile Ck and Tin Mine Rds had been minimised by back burning in the area.

Up-to-date alerts from the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service can be found here

Follow the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service Facebook page here

What to do if you are near a fire

Fire in the area:

  • Listen to local broadcasts or check websites for updates
  • Put on protective clothing
  • Drink lots of water
  • Move car/s to a safe location
  • Close windows and doors and shut blinds
  • Take down curtains and move furniture away from windows
  • Bring pets inside and restrain them (leash, cage, or secure room) and provide water
  • Block downpipes (at the top) and fill gutters with water if possible
  • Wet down the sides of buildings and close shrubbery in the likely path of the bushfire
  • Wet down fine fuels close to buildings
  • Turn on sprinklers in garden for 30 minutes before bushfire arrives

When the fire front arrive:

  • Disconnect hose and fittings and bring inside
  • Go inside for shelter
  • Drink lots of water
  • Check and patrol for embers inside, particularly in the roof space
  • Check family and pets

WEDNESDAY 6AM: Crows Nest residents will be hoping for better weather conditions today after several were forced to flee their homes as grassfires swept through the region.

People living in Three Mile Ck Rd and Tin Mine Rd, east of Crows Nest, were doorknocked yesterday afternoon by police warning of the expanding fire threat.

The three separate fires burning around Lake Perseverance, Lake Cressbrook and Crows Nest were a major concern for Perseverance Dam Rd resident Barbara Howard.

"This is a nightmare we don't need," Mrs Howard said.

She was confident her house was safe but was concerned for her son Michael's nearby home which he was vigorously wetting down with a garden hose.

Queensland Fire and Rescue Service south-west region Inspector Eddie Lacko said 20 rural and urban fire crews from as far away as Dalby and Warwick yesterday were working to confine the three fires within areas bounded by Three Mile Ck, Tin Mine and Sebastapool Rds.

He said the fires in mountainous areas were behaving erratically as winds whipped through gullies and gorges.

A major concern was the possibility of people conducting their own back-burning.

"We don't want people taking matters into their own hands thinking they are doing the right thing," Insp. Lacko said.

"If you have crews in those areas you are putting them in danger."

Toowoomba police disaster management support officer Senior Sergeant Jamie Deacon said people were not being forced to evacuate but most residents had chosen to leave.

"We tell them the nature of the fire and the danger of staying," Snr Sgt Deacon said.

"By far the majority have been receptive and thankful."

The Bureau of Meteorology expects easterly winds and relatively dry conditions to keep the area in a high fire danger today and tomorrow.

This fire map shows the amount of fires burning in and around the Crows Nest and Toowoomba regions. Courtesy of North Australian Fire Information.
This fire map shows the amount of fires burning in and around the Crows Nest and Toowoomba regions. Courtesy of North Australian Fire Information.

TUESDAY 8PM: Queensland Fire and Rescue Service has announced there is no longer any threat to homes by fires burning near Crows Nest.

QFRS crews will remain overnight at the scene of the grass fires burning in the area.

Crews will continue monitoring the fire and backburning along Three Mile Rd to bring the fire under control. 

Emu Creek Rural Fire Brigade volunteer Trent Young backburning near Crows Nest.
Emu Creek Rural Fire Brigade volunteer Trent Young backburning near Crows Nest. Dave Noonan

TUESDAY 4.35pm: Police say the majority of residents living east of Crows Nest in Three Mile Ck and Tin Mine Rds have left their homes in the wake of an expanding grassfire.

Toowoomba police disaster management support officer Senior Sergeant Jamie Deacon said people were not being forced to evacuate. 

"We tell them the nature of the fire and the danger of staying," Snr Sgt Deacon said.

"By far the majority have been receptive and thankful."

Queensland Fire and Rescue Service south-west region Inspector Eddie Lacko said 20 rural and urban fire crews from as far away as Dalby and Warwick were working to confine the three fires within areas bounded by Three Mile Ck, Tin Mine and Sebastapole Rds. 

The Bureau of Meteorology expects easterly winds and relatively dry conditions to keep the area in a high fire danger until Friday. 

TUESDAY 11.50am: The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service is advising residents in the vicinity of Three Mile Road and Tin Mile Road, Crows Nest to finalise their bushfire plans and prepare for a bushfire in their area.

Firies have been battling grass fires near Lake Perseverance since Saturday afternoon.
Firies have been battling grass fires near Lake Perseverance since Saturday afternoon.

At 10.30am a large bushfire was located at Crows Nest National Park, south east of Three Mile Road and north of Perseverance Dam Road.

The large fire is travelling in a north-westerly direction and is expected to impact the areas of Three Mile Road and Tin Mile Road in the next six to 24 hours.

Residents are advised to finalise their bushfire plans and be prepared to relocate to a safer area if required. Leaving is the safest option for survival in a bushfire.

Well prepared and defended homes can offer safety during the fire and may be defendable.

Currently, 11 fire crews are working to contain the blaze but firefighters may not be able to protect every affected property and residents should not expect a firefighter at their door.

Residents are advised to call 000 if their property comes under threat.

TUESDAY 8.30am: A fire spotter plane is due to keep watch from skies north of Toowoomba today as rural firefighters try to stop the spread of two blazes burning near Perseverance Dam.

Queensland Fire and Rescue Service I-Zone officer Cameron Ashmore said crews were burning containment lines on the eastern edge of a large grassfire burning between Perseverance Dam Rd and Crows Nest National Park.

"We are trying to keep it to the eastern side of Perseverance Ck," Mr Ashmore said.

"If it crosses Perseverance Ck there will be property under threat."

He said crews were also managing a separate fire on the eastern side of Cressbrook Dam.

Two water bombers are on standby at Meandarra and will be called in if needed.

Volunteer firefighters battle multiple blazes

 

A grass fire burns near Lake Perseverance.
A grass fire burns near Lake Perseverance.
Emergency services volunteers work tirelessly to build fire breaks around a grass fire burning near Lake Perseverance.
Emergency services volunteers work tirelessly to build fire breaks around a grass fire burning near Lake Perseverance.

 

MONDAY: There will be no rest for the region's valiant volunteer firefighters as weekend blazes continue to rage across the Downs and south-west.

Workers from Toowoomba Regional Council and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service have helped Rural Fire Brigade firefighters battle a range of grassfires which started north of Toowoomba on Saturday.

They will today continue to monitor six fires burning in the Cooyar, Crows Nest and Cressbrook regions.

It comes as firefighting resources are stretched at multiple fires burning from Quilpie to Allora and north to Kilcoy.

Group officer for the Eastern Downs Rural Fire Brigade Mike Perrin said at least 50 volunteers had been working around the clock to contain and monitor the fires.

He said most of them had been started by lightning strikes during storm activity on Saturday night.

"Their efforts have been incredible," Mr Perrin said.

Queensland Fire and Rescue Service south west region Inspector Eddie Lacko said two separate fires burning in inaccessible country on the north-western and southern sides of Lake Perseverance late yesterday were a major concern.

"We've got crews putting in some containment lines where they can," Insp. Lacko said.

"Our concern is properties and any communities in those areas."

He said 60 children on a school hiking trip in the area were evacuated without harm.

Residents in the area are being urged to initiate their bushfire survival plans.

"If they are concerned I would like them to leave early.

"Leaving late is never an option."

 

QFRS Inspector Eddie Lacko stands watch near Lake Perseverance.
QFRS Inspector Eddie Lacko stands watch near Lake Perseverance. Kevin Farmer

Topics:  crows nest, grassfire, lake perseverance, rural fire brigade



Local Real Estate

Featured Real Estate
AUGUST SPECIAL $24900.00...
Cabin 9x3m, bathroom, bedroom, lounge, kitchen, colorbond finish, gyprock, cornices + FREE (to ...
FULLY SELF CONTAINED... $9500.00 From
Cabin $12.5K for 6 x 2.4 x 2.5m fully installed. D.I.Y $9.5k bare ...

Featured Jobs

Warwick jobs listed daily

Featured Jobs
Multiple Trades Crews... Toowoomba Contract
BAKER/PASTRY COOK... BAKER/PASTRY COOK Required for Blackwater Hot Bread in central Qld. You will ...
... join us on the... $63125.00
... join us on the beautiful NSW north coast, enjoy flexible work ...


Local Partners

LATEST DEALS AND OFFERS

Local Jobs

Search for your next job now!
Learn More

Cars For Sale

Find cars for sale online now.
Learn More

Subscription Sale

Subscribe now for $1 for 14 days.
Learn More

Local Profile

Stay Connected

Get the news as it happens, in your inbox

You can change the newsletters you are subscribed to when you edit your profile

Edit Profile


Special Offers

Latest deals and offers

View today's ePaper!

Read the digital edition
Learn More

Horoscopes

Leo

You may have a smooth competitor lurking in the shadows, so my advice is to learn know how to deal with them. Out and out wars are not the...

read more

Marketplace

Special Offers & Promotions

Compare & Save