A rural firefighter surveys an area at Leydens Hill Road, near Mt Morgan, where fire burned yesterday.
A rural firefighter surveys an area at Leydens Hill Road, near Mt Morgan, where fire burned yesterday.

Bushfire threatens 20 homes

PLUMES of thick black smoke filled the air above, roads were closed and properties threatened as more than 20 fire crews worked furiously as they battled several blazes near Mt Morgan yesterday.

The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service released a warning to residents in the vicinity of Moongan and Leydens Hill, north of Mt Morgan, to be prepared to enact their bushfire plans.

At 2.15pm a large bushfire was located in bushland off Leydens Hill Road with multiple smaller grassfires branching off.

The fire was moving quickly late yesterday and firefighters were experiencing difficulty in controlling it and spot fires were predicted to occur ahead of the firefront.

The regional manager of rural operations for the central region, Superintendent John Fisher, said close to 20 properties were affected.

While back-burning was being done to help protect these homes, regular ABC Capricornia radio updates to keep residents informed would continue today if necessary.

“While we work to contain the fires we are warning residents to protect their properties or move to a safer place if they feel threatened,” Mr Fisher said.

Mr Fisher confirmed that a fire in Byrnes Parade at Mt Morgan, well away from the main fire north of the town, had been deliberately lit.

He said there were also suspicions that some of the fires north of the Burnett Highway could also have been lit on purpose.

A section of the Burnett Highway between the top of The Range and the township of Mt Morgan was closed for several hours yesterday because of the smoke hazard.

A fixed-wing aircraft carried out five waterbombing sorties in the Mt Morgan area and late yesterday a strike team of five rural fire crews was also sent in.

As firefighters worked against the clock, radio blackspots hindered their efforts in sections of the burning area.

Earlier in the day Keighley Mitchell, a resident of Leydens Hill Road, said that although his five-acre property was clear of fire fuel build-up, the dry long grass around his property was a threat.

“If it jumps the road, there is about 700 acres of dry mess behind us that could become a threat,” he said.

A mid-morning fire had been burning burning near the go-kart tracks at Bajool, south of Rockhampton, but was quickly put out by two crews.

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