Eerie feeling to fires sparks fears history will repeat
ONE of the first men on the scene at one of the Coast's worst bushfires 25 years ago, says he's waiting for that dreaded phone call like back in '94 when "all hell broke loose".
Darren Howard, a dozer contractor, and his father battled the wildfires in Beerburrum State Forest, which burnt through thousands of hectares in the Glass House Mountains and had a devastating impact on residents, businesses and communities.
Mr Howard fears a repeat is on its way, with an eerie feeling in the atmosphere combined with weather patterns over the past few months almost enough to predict what lies ahead.
"The weather conditions in '94 were very low humidity and a hot northerly wind," he said.
"The fuel today is high again, and look out if a fire gets going on a hot northerly wind on a 36-to-40 degree day. The fires of '94 woke many up but how quickly people get complacent again.
"History always repeats itself if you live long enough."
The Beerwah resident believes a lack of fuel reduction burning in the past 20 years has contributed to recent bushfire devastation on our northern fringes. He said a lack of burning by forestry and national parks officials was partly to blame.
"To this day the madness continues with a seven-year burn policy, and if the window is missed it goes into the next seven-year cycle," he said.
"It makes me very angry when all this can easily be avoided."
Mr Howard believes government bodies should reconsider backburning policies to at least every two or three years and make it easier for homeowners who want to backburn.
"Fire is a natural thing the Australian bush needs to thrive, but the lack of cool-month burn-offs only helps build massive fuel loads that become fire storms in hot months like October, November," he said.