More than 10 vehicles were in action fighting fires and defending properties in the Lakes Creek area.
More than 10 vehicles were in action fighting fires and defending properties in the Lakes Creek area. Jann Houley

Waterbombers swing into action as CQ fights multiple fires

BLUSTERY weather combined with bone-dry conditions and parched vegetation have made for ideal conditions for bushfires that are threatening lives and properties in Central Queensland.

Waterbombing aircraft were busy over the weekend, firstly to defend Byfield on Friday and Saturday before swinging into action at Farnborough, north of Yeppoon and Lakes Creek, in north Rockhampton yesterday afternoon.

 

Lakes Creek fires:
Lakes Creek fires:

The bushfire at Lakes Creek proved to be the most dangerous of the three, quickly spreading after it was reported at 1.50pm, covering two hectares of bushland with flames about 4m-5m high.

 

The fire threat was so severe that multiple calls were made for reinforcements, including to urban firefighting units, to protect vulnerable houses.

Police then began blockading streets leading to the fire zone.

At 5pm yesterday, a Montgomerie St resident said police were doorknocking along the street with Compulsory Evacuate Orders.

QPS said they were yet to receive a notification to enact a Public Safety Preservation Act.

With the warning for the fire sitting at the 'advice' level, residents are urged to stay informed and decide on a course of action if circumstances change.

 

Lakes Creek fire: A bushfire is burning in Lakes Creek. This video was captured at Vesty St at 2.30pm.
Lakes Creek fire: A bushfire is burning in Lakes Creek. This video was captured at Vesty St at 2.30pm.

After spending the previous day circling the Byfield fire, a fire-mapping aircraft spent yesterday circling the Lakes Creek bushfire, informing authorities where the fire was travelling and guiding water-bombing efforts.

The fire quickly burnt its way uphill into the inaccessible terrain of Mount Archer National Park.

In preparation for a difficult battle ahead, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services crews strengthened the park's containment lines.

 

Lakes Creek fires:
Lakes Creek fires:

They expect the fire to continue to burn inside the national park over the coming days, endangering over 11ha of forest.

On the Capricorn Coast, the situation also escalated yesterday afternoon with vegetation fires reported in Farnborough at Howes Rd, and in the area of Iwasaki Rd and Farnborough Rd, north of Yeppoon.

Water-bombing commenced and QFES were forced to close the entrance to Iwasaki Rd at the Pacific Heights roundabout.

 

FIRE BATTLE: A helicopter is currently waterbombing the Farnborough fire burning near Farnborough and Iwasaki roads.
FIRE BATTLE: A helicopter is currently waterbombing the Farnborough fire burning near Farnborough and Iwasaki roads. Malcolm Wells

The fire danger rating remains at a very high level for Capricornia and surrounding areas tomorrow.

Originally intended to end at midnight, the Central region fire ban was extended by another week.

Residents in the Central Highlands, Woorabinda, Banana, Gladstone, Livingstone and Rockhampton Local Government Areas will not be able to light an open fire until 11.59pm on Sunday, September15.

QFES said it was because conditions were perfect for bushfires to ignite and spread quickly.

"Under a local fire ban all open fires are prohibited and all permits to light fire which have been issued in the designated areas have been cancelled," they said.

Information on fire bans can be found on the RFS website, www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au.