Firefighter: Woolooga the 'worst conditions I have seen'
FIRE and emergency service crews advised residents to stay informed yesterday afternoon as day three of the monstrous Woolooga bushfires drew to a close.
At latest estimate, the bushfire's destruction path had burned through some 10,000ha of Woolooga, Sexton, Miva and beyond, with the fire moving towards Devils Mountain on the eastern flank late Friday afternoon.
A Queensland Fire and Emergency Service update issued at 4:20pm yesterday warned locals to keep up to date and decide what actions to take if the situation regarding the unpredictable fire changed.
QFES North Coast Region Acting Superintendent Ron Higgins said containment lines had been established throughout most of the fire's scope, and more barriers were being added to ensure it didn't spread further.
"The status is that we're still doing containment lines around Miva Rd and Sexton Rd, that's nearly complete, and we finished off containment lines to the south, which look like they're holding,” A/Supt Higgins said.
"The other area we're mostly concerned about is Devils Mountain, we've got crews in there putting in containment lines to try and stop the fire going any further over the mountain.
"There are little flare-ups at Miva and Sexton, people need to be vigilant in that area and report them straight away so we can deal with them as they happen.
"There's still some unburnt area where it's still travelling up to the containment lines.”
"The fire is still active and we need residents to be very vigilant, it could turn around at any time and we need them to be prepared.”
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A/Supt. Higgins said the status at Woolooga was stable, with QFES recovery operations and damage assessments on the agenda.
He said around 25 crews remained on the scene, though some had been released to rest after working long shifts.
Gympie Fire Station officer Justin Groth, who worked in Toowoomba and Bundaberg before coming to the region 12 months ago, said the fires were "certainly the worst conditions” he had ever seen.
"I'm new to the area but it's still certainly the worst conditions I've seen,” Officer Groth said.
"I was out here on day one, the fast moving fires were quite hectic at times, yesterday was worse and another bad one today.
"Even down in the Victoria fires, it's up with those ones as well.
"One time you'd be standing there with the fire 50 metres away and ten seconds later it would be at your feet.”
Officer Groth stopped short of saying the fires had "scared” him and commended his fellow firefighters for their tireless efforts.
"At times it's been quite hectic, I wouldn't say scary but with the way QFES has moved today with their organisation, we're all one team now and without each other we certainly would have had different outcomes.
"You've got to take your hats off to the crews on the ground, from day one the effort that everyone has put in has been second to none, and it continues.
"We've got crews all the way from Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and a little bit north, and for them to come up and help residents they don't even know is a wonderful thing.”