23 crews fight for town
IT was time to leave.
As out-of-control flames tore violently towards Heather Barker's Bouldercombe home, she shouted frantically to her husband Noel: “Let it go!”
He dropped the hose and they ran.
Moments later, as they took cover under their veranda, an aerial water bomber dumped hundreds of litres of water on the fire which came so close to destroying the retirees' Goodson Road home yesterday.
As the foam rained down on the property like falling snow, a wary sense of relief fell over Mrs Barker.
“I thought we were going to lose everything,” she said.
“We had kept an eye on things all day, but all of a sudden it came down burning.”
It took just seconds for a routine backburn to become a full-blown emergency when the fire jumped containment lines near Webb Road, on the eastern side of the Mount Morgan Range, about four minutes earlier.
Trevor Jenner and his wife Valma have lived on that road for almost 20 years and said fire had never come as close as it did yesterday.
Just before the runaway blaze, Mr Jenner said he felt his home would be safe unless the property next to him caught on fire.
His fears were realised, but luckily the wind direction pushed the flames away from his property and firefighters were able to protect it.
In the time it took QFRS area training support officer Andrew Allan to drive to the Barkers' home from where the fire escaped, it had already travelled a kilometre to their fence line.
The Caloundra-based firefighter, who arrived in the region on Tuesday, said it was one of the fastest-moving fires he had experienced.
More than 23 urban and rural crews from around the region, including a helicopter and two aeroplanes, fought to save a number of homes in the area.
About 4pm the fire continued to move east towards properties on Mount Usher Road, behind the Bouldercombe Pub, and more rural crews raced along the Burnett Highway to provide support.
The helicopter bomber took water from a residential swimming pool to repeatedly fill the 400 litre Bambi bucket and dump water where it was needed.
Late yesterday homes were no longer under threat after crews managed to contain the main fire and complete mopping-up work.
Last night the hot spot was being patrolled and further backburning was expected to continue overnight.