Rural Fire Brigade trucks deployed in Frenchville.
Rural Fire Brigade trucks deployed in Frenchville.

Bushfire swoops into North Rocky

THE bushfire battle kicked up to the next level yesterday when the Mount Archer bushfire swung down from the hills, threatening properties in North Rockhampton.

Frenchville and Koongal residents living in the streets backing onto the Mount Archer National Park were warned to prepare to leave at 1.15pm.

The “watch and act” warning was declared when the fire was seen headed down the hills towards Murlay Ave, Bloxsom St, Saunders St, Thirkettle Ave and adjoining areas.

At the height of the battle, a total of 40 firefighters were involved in the defensive effort.

There were 19 crews operating, including two waterbombing aircraft, defending vulnerable properties and conducting back burning.

Fire bomber over Frenchville.
Fire bomber over Frenchville.

Parents with students attending nearby Mount Archer State School watched for updates on progress of the bushfire nervously.

Speaking on social media, the school said office staff were fielding a significant number of calls from the school community before asking for patience if calling the school.

They confirmed they were monitoring the situation and would remain open unless instructed to do otherwise by authorities.

By 2.15pm, firefighters had begun to get the upper hand against the fire, reducing the threat warning to the “advice” level.

It has remained at this level into the evening with residents advised to keep up to date and decide what actions to take if the circumstances changed.

Overnight Tuesday, the decision was made not to backburn in the Rockonia Rd sector.

Firefighters conducted backburning around Pilbeam Drive seeking to halt the bushfire’s steady march up towards the summit of Mount Archer.

Pilbeam Drive was closed for a period of time to allow for the passage of heavy firefighting vehicles.

Fire bomber over Koongal
Fire bomber over Koongal

An arborist was brought in on Wednesday morning to inspect the trees along Pilbeam Drive to ensure they weren’t a threat to motorists.

On the Capricorn Coast, the Bungundarra (north of Yep­poon) bushfire also remains at the “advice” warning level yesterday, the bushfire was burning near Bungundarra Rd and Mount Rae Rd, Bungundarra.

Water-bombing aircraft and fire crews and heavy earthmoving equipment worked to contain the fire and create a fire break.

The Bungundarra bushfire no longer posed a direct threat to properties.

People in the areas of the fires were expected to be affected by smoke, which will reduce visibility and air quality.

The Central Queensland Public Health Unit issued advice to mitigate the difficulties created by the smoke, especially those with pre-existing conditions.

It was recommended to stay indoors with windows and doors closed, follow any medical plan provided by their doctor such as an asthma management plan, and avoid vigorous exercise.

Anyone experiencing any adverse reactions to the smoke, such as shortness of breath, prolonged coughing or wheezing, should seek medical advice.

They should stick to air-conditioned environments, and extra caution should be taken when driving.

QFES issued a reminder to aircraft and drone operators to keep clear of bushfires following reports of a number of breaches in recent days.

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