REINFORCEMENTS: Air Tractor water bombers were tasked to the blaze at Hawkwood on Friday.
REINFORCEMENTS: Air Tractor water bombers were tasked to the blaze at Hawkwood on Friday. Contributed

Gusty winds increase risk of an 'ember attack'

FIREFIGHTERS are patrolling the containment lines at the Hawkwood fire as strong winds increase the risk of an "ember attack”.

The blaze, which was first reported about 3.45pm on Wednesday, has been contained since the weekend, after four Air Tractor water bombing planes were bought in on Friday from the Sunshine Coast.

The four planes each had a payload of about 3000L per drop of water and fire retardant, and they were accompanied by an observation helicopter.

Acting Rural Fire Service Burnett area director Steve Roberts said some small fires were still burning within containment lines.

REINFORCEMENTS: Air Tractor water bombers were tasked to the blaze at Hawkwood on Friday.
REINFORCEMENTS: Air Tractor water bombers were tasked to the blaze at Hawkwood on Friday. Contributed

He said these lines were being "continually strengthened” and crews would also be on scene tomorrow to monitor the situation.

Mr Roberts said Friday saw particularly bad fire conditions, as the Hawkwood alert was upgraded to 'Watch and Act', but by Friday evening, with the help of the Air Tractors, the blaze was "semi-contained”.

He said crews were aided by a slight tailing off of conditions over the weekend.

Mr Roberts said about 10,000ha of grass and woodland was consumed by the fire.

He said a lot of the area was "inaccessible” to crews due to thick trees, which hampered firefighting efforts.

"It's going to be a long season until we see significant rain,” Mr Roberts said.

"We ask residents to be very vigilant with their outside activities, prepare a fire plan and monitor social media for updates on possible fires.”

There is no indication of what started the fire.

QFES Gayndah area commander Kent Freeman said it was a "very busy” weekend for QFES and Rural Fire crews, although luckily there were no other local fires of note which would have sapped resources.

He described the conditions as "historically bad” for a September.

"Because of the wind, we've got to keep an eye on ember attacks spreading fire,” Mr Freeman said.

The Bureau of Meteorology measured wind gusts of up to 61km/h in Gayndah early this morning and the wind speed has consistently been about 30km/h for much of the day.

The fire, located near Barbours and New Cadarga roads, is currently at the 'Notification' alert level, meaning the fire "does not pose an immediate threat”.


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