Fire engulfs gas powered van
AN English tourist's plan to cruise the open highway was cut short yesterday when his campervan started to fill with smoke.
He pulled to the side of the Bruce Highway, near Marmor, about 45km south of Rockhampton, at 9.30am as the engine caught fire.
The flames sparked a nearby grassfire and a large smoke plume covered the highway, forcing police to close off both lanes.
High temperatures and tinder dry vegetation turned the region into a powder keg yesterday.
As a result authorities have issued a complete fire ban.
Yesterday a Queensland Fire and Rescue spokesman said by the time the tourist's campervan, which ran on LPG, was fully engulfed by flames, the tourist had escaped.
He was the sole occupant of the privately owned campervan, and luckily had insurance.
Due to the extreme heat, the car's LPG began venting and a gas examiner was called to investigate the cause of the fire.
The Fire and Rescue Service received multiple Triple 0 calls from passing motorists.
When the fire was extinguished, police opened one lane of traffic.
The scene was cleared by 11.40am and the burnt out campervan was towed into Rockhampton.
The tourist said he would stay in Australia until January.
The fire ban for Central Queensland started at midnight last night and will continue through to midnight on Thursday as above average temperatures are expected to last all week.
Tomorrow's temperature is expected to reach 35C, seven degrees higher than the September average.
Superintendent John Fisher said weather conditions would determine how long the fire ban lasted.
With several fires being contained across CQ, he said the combination of strong and dry westerly winds and hot conditions posed the threat of a raging blaze.
“Any fire that starts has the potential to become uncontrollable within literally minutes,” he said.
He has urged residents to follow the rules and refrain from lighting fires and to call Triple 0 immediately after witnessing a blaze.
- You can take steps to prepare your property by removing, cutting or mowing bushes, grass and weeds around sheds, fences and gates; clearing overhanging branches from the roof; cleaning gutters and establishing a clear buffer zone around your house and other buildings. For more information go to www.fire.qld.gov.au or www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au
Fire ban and fires being contained across the region:
• Complete fire ban across CQ including Rocky, Banana, Gladstone, Central Highlands, Woorabinda, Isaac, Black-Tambo and Longreach, from midnight last night through to midnight Thursday, with a further ban expected;
• 45 firefighters and eight brigades have been working on a grassfire that started on Thompsons Point Rd, east of Rocky on Sunday morning;
• Fire crews yesterday reported a power pole on fire at Thompsons Point Rd and Ergon crews were called to the scene;
• Crews are controlling two fires on Wine Mile Road, Mt Morgan;