Controlled burn goes rogue, hitting next-door paddocks

RAINS too late for pasture growth were almost a blessing for grazier Brian Dray at the weekend, when a controlled burn next door ceased to be controlled and got into his paddocks.

The fire, lit on Saturday morning, got out of control soon after 9am.

Units from several rural brigades brought the fire under control on Saturday evening.

"They contained it on Saturday evening and came back and tidied it up on Sunday," Mr Dray said yesterday.

He said a hazard reduction burn next door had become a hazard in itself but had not done any real damage.

Frosts had killed off pasture and made it ideal fire fuel, but late rains meant there was not a lot of pasture to catch fire.

FIRE: Brian Dray inspects his fence line after a grass fire got into his property, near the Wide Bay Hwy and the Widgee turn-off at the weekend, while (below) the blaze tore into dry pasture before being brought under control on Saturday night.
FIRE: Brian Dray inspects his fence line after a grass fire got into his property, near the Wide Bay Hwy and the Widgee turn-off at the weekend, while (below) the blaze tore into dry pasture before being brought under control on Saturday night.

But he says graziers and property owners generally will need rain and lots of it.

And they will need it soon for all the most desperate reasons, for fire safety and financial survival.

"Graziers are caught with markets depressed and stock running short of feed.

"They'll be stuck trying to feed cattle if we don't get nice spring rain.

"They're predicting rain at the weekend and we need a lot of it, with two short growing seasons in a row and feed reserves becoming exhausted.

"If we get dry weather like we've had in the last couple of years, without an early spring break, a lot of people will be in trouble.

"We need those old faithful storm rains we normally get in spring," he said.

Rural Fire Service Queensland acting area director Brian Dale said the fire had burned about 25 to 30ha

"Things have started to dry out in the hilly country and it's not boding all that well for the coming season," he said.