Stanley Shuker escaped the October bushfire with nothing more than what he was wearing.
Stanley Shuker escaped the October bushfire with nothing more than what he was wearing. CHRIS ISON

Fire victim wheeled to safety

WHEN a “wall of flames” moved swiftly towards Stanley Shuker’s Rockonia Road home last October, he was lucky to have family there to wheel him out of the danger zone.

Since those bushfires, 83-year-old Stan, who is largely wheelchair-bound, has help from his son to keep fire fuels to a minimum around his property.

That practice is something authorities are urging residents all residents to do.

This can be done by mowing, slashing and removing any flammable materials as well as getting rid of all rubbish within 40m of the house.

The regional manager of rural operations for the central region, Superintendent John Fisher said the rain had been a “blessing”, but with decent fuel developing around the region, there was potential for conditions similar to last year’s.

While he said they were anticipating a normal season this year with rain expected until March, it was too early to know what was in store in the coming months.

“Last year there was a lot of good growth in January and February, but we had no rain from April onwards causing dry, thick growth that caught a lot of people unaware,” Mr Fisher said.

Back-burning has already proceeded in western areas of Central Queensland including Emerald and Barcaldine.

Preparation for the upcoming fire season is set to take place in Rockhampton in the next few months.

Stan was only metres from the terrifying fires that ripped through Lakes Creek in October last year – a “frightening” event he never wants to see happen again.

Although the fire reached his back fence, firefighters got to it quickly enough to stop it getting away and into his property.

“It was frightening, I thought I would lose everything,” Stan said, when The Bully caught up with him this week.

The retired meat-worker said although there were rumours homes in his street had been destroyed by flames, he was lucky to have a home.

Stan said his daughter was filming the fires only moments before they got close in towards the properties.

Acting brigade training support officer and rural firefighter Gordan Ryan said in preparation for the upcoming fire season, they were teaming up with CQUniversity to remove fire hazard fuels on the corner of Yeppoon Road and the Bruce Highway through to Norman Road.

“We will put on our new trainees in these areas so they can learn back-burning procedures and gain practical on the job experience,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said traditionally, the fire season ran from August/September through to December/January.



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