CATTLE REFUGE: Trevor Humble at the CQLX yards with a pen of cattle who stayed overnight in safety amidst the surrounding fires in Gracemere and Stanwell.
CATTLE REFUGE: Trevor Humble at the CQLX yards with a pen of cattle who stayed overnight in safety amidst the surrounding fires in Gracemere and Stanwell. Vanessa Jarrett

Cattle take refuge at CQLX, Friday's sale cancelled

PENS OF CATTLE were huddled together and sprayed with water to keep them cool on Wednesday night as nearby fires threatened Central Queensland Livestock Exchange.

CQLX's Trevor Humble said they used sprinklers to wet the stock as they moved to quickly to protect the cattle already in the yards as the fire intensified.

Around 600-700 head were at the Gracemere saleyards complex awaiting the major sale on Friday (which was later cancelled) before they were herded into a large yard (receiver's yard) out the back.

"The fire was coming across, we just made sure we had all the cattle sorted and the horses brought up," Mr Humble said.

"We left them in a spot that was as safe as possible."

More cattle was also trucked in from nearby graziers whose properties were threatened.

At an estimate, there would have been around 800 - 1,000 head at the yards.

"Others brought some in to get them out of danger," he said.

As the wind blew up to 80km/h, the dry, hot conditions, didn't phase the cattle, Mr Humble said.

 

 

A blanket of smoke was lying at the bottom of the sky around Gracemere following the fires the day before on Wednesday.
A blanket of smoke was lying at the bottom of the sky around Gracemere following the fires the day before on Wednesday. Vanessa Jarrett

"They were really good... we put some sprinklers on and they were settled, they have plenty of feed," he said.

Checking out the complex the next morning, the multi-million dollar facility had come through unscathed.

However the power was cut and they had had to regretfully cancel Friday's sale.

It was going to be a big sale with around 3,000 head of cattle booked in.

No power means the pumps cannot run with water being the biggest issue.

Where the cattle are located they have access to stored water but if they are moved to the top pens, they would have had no water to run the troughs.

 

 

Cattle at CQLX yards were combined in the one pen with sprinklers on them through the peak of the fire.
The cattle were happily settled, unaware of the chaos around them. Vanessa Jarrett

While all of this was going on, Mr Humble had to think about his own property which was also being threatened by fire in Alton Downs.

"As long as the wind doesn't change... we can only wait and see, that is all we can do," he said.

He said the weather on Wednesday was just "unbelievable".