THUNDER AND LIGHTNING, VERY VERY FRIGHTENING: Joanne Cocks captures the exact spot lightning struck a tree on her hobby farm.
THUNDER AND LIGHTNING, VERY VERY FRIGHTENING: Joanne Cocks captures the exact spot lightning struck a tree on her hobby farm. Joanne Cocks

Strike of poor luck: Farming family faces off with fire

DISASTER was narrowly avoided at a Spring Creek hobby farm after lightning sparked a fire Friday afternoon.

Joanne Cocks was on the phone to her mother when she heard the thunderous roar of lightning strike her family property.

"It was so loud, then there was a big pop,” Mrs Cocks said.

"The neighbour down the road heard it at the same time and they almost fell out of their chair, it was that loud.”

The lightning struck a tree by the boundary of Mrs Cocks hobby farm and her neighbour came racing over to alert them.

"It happened a few years ago where one tree totally exploded on the property but the ground has been so dry and hot lately we were frightened it would spread a lot faster.”

A similar incident at Goomburra sparked a wildfire in September that burned out of control for weeks before threatening homes further north at Laidley.

The family loaded up 1000 litres of bore water onto the back of their truck and tore down the driveway to reach the tree.

"It was roaring inside, just roaring with fire,” Mrs Cocks said.

"It was so hot!”

Lightning poses a significant fire risk as a single flash is able to heat the air around it to temperatures five times hotter than the sun's surface.

Each bolt can contain up to one billion volts of electricity.

The family did all they could to bring the fire under control but Mrs Cocks said it was impossible to put it out properly as it burned through the hollowed trunk of the tree.

"We just had to monitor it, and the grass was still burning the next day.”

After the fire, however, came the flood.

More than 50mm of rain inundated Joanne Cocks' property over Friday and Saturday, in a much needed downpour that may encourage the growth of feed for their cattle.

"It was just awesome,” Mrs Cocks said.

"The last time we had that much rain was in January, so it was a long time coming.”



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