Mass action halts grassfires

MACKAY: Fire crews had a horror day yesterday when two grassfires spread out of control within hours of each other, threatening five properties and requiring 14 fire trucks to contain them.

Authorities believe the first fire on Yakapari-Habana Road, at Habana, that burned out one abandoned property and blazed across 200 hectares, may have been sparked by an electrical fault in a house.

Rural Fire Service Mackay director of rural operations Ian Atherton said the dry, windy conditions meant the blaze was able to spread quickly.

“Conditions are fairly dry and because of the wind it spread very quickly,” Mr Atherton said.

“It started in an old house possibly from an electrical fault.”

Flames came within metres of the road and one resident watched in horror as smoke billowed from behind her home as she drove away.

Two urban fire crews and eight rural crews battled the blaze that started about 1.15pm.

Mr Atherton said back-burning started about 4.30pm and by 5.30pm no buildings were threatened.

Fire crews attended the second blaze at Pleystowe on the Mackay-Eungella Road about 2.45pm.

“Firefighters successfully protected several homes from the blaze,” a Department of Emergency Services spokesman said.

The fire was under control by 4.40pm, but crews continued to monitor the area into the evening.

Blanket fire bans in the Mackay Whitsunday region were extended on Monday and are now in place until November 9, but may be extended again if dangerous conditions continue.



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