Fruit grower prepares to take on Deepwater's inferno
A FRUIT grower is preparing to battle a massive bushfire racing towards his orchard at Deepwater as authorities urgently warn his neighbours they need to evacuate if they want to survive.
More than 1000 people had already left their homes near the fire, north of Bundaberg, as of Wednesday morning.
But many others are ignoring pleas to flee to safety, and some residents are staying in the direct path of the inferno, even after police banged on their doors.
Macadamia grower Robert Griffith says a hot north north-easterly wind is blowing the fire, which is just three kilometres away, towards the property.
"The wind is hot and dry, you can smell the fire, you can see the embers flying across and the whole farm is littered with burnt leaves from the past couple of days," he said.
"As the crow flies it's only three kilometres away, we've probably got half an hour to an hour."
Mr Griffith said nine staff would stay and fight the approaching blaze but their families have moved out of the fire ground.
The team is setting up fire pumps and spray rigs that draw on the dam and creek, he said.
"Everyone is pretty tired but we're a close-knit team, so everyone's spirits are really high," he said.
Although most residents have been ordered to evacuate, Mr Griffith says authorities asked him to stay and fight the fire because the 600-hectare orchard has the largest water source in the region.
"They put up all their communication towers on our farm to triangulate their radio signals," he said.
Mr Griffith says his team had been fighting the fire since Sunday at their second orchard, which was ringed by Deepwater National Park.
"We've been hit all around the outside but we managed with all the staff stop (the fire) hitting the orchard," he said.