CLOSE CALL: Ron Hughes almost died after a bushfire smothered his Dalysford home in heavy smoke.
CLOSE CALL: Ron Hughes almost died after a bushfire smothered his Dalysford home in heavy smoke. Mike Knott BUN200818RON2

Fire comes close to taking home, horses and a life

A HEARTBROKEN man wept as he inspected his Dalysford property after a fire ripped through on Friday night leaving only smouldering logs, ash and dust.

Ron Hughes wiped away the tears as he thanked fireys for not only saving his Settlement Rd property from a furious fire, but for saving his life.

Mr Hughes knows the land, he understands Australia is the land of drought and flooding rain, but he never expected it to come so close to home.

He grew up in western Queensland, was a rodeo rider, before he was diagnosed with lung cancer and given six months to live in 2002.

He beat the odds after surgery removed more than half of his lungs, but it forced him into early retirement.

CLOSE CALL: Ron Hughes almost died after a bushfire smothered his Dalysford home in heavy smoke.
CLOSE CALL: Ron Hughes almost died after a bushfire smothered his Dalysford home in heavy smoke. Mike Knott BUN200818RON9

Now the 67 year old lives on acreage at Dalysford, near Gin Gin, with his wife Julieann, eight horses and a scattering of other animals.

On Friday afternoon, Mr Hughes was returning from a lung specialist appointment when he received a phone call from neighbours warning there was a bush fire near their homes.

Arriving home Mrs Hughes said the flames were as high as the house in the paddock with the horses.

"This has broken my bloody heart - it has,” Mr Hughes said.

"The grass was knee deep and thick as anything and now it's all gone.

"I fenced the new area on Thursday for the horses to have food and it was all gone from the fire on Friday.”

CLOSE CALL: Ron Hughes almost died after a bushfire smothered his Dalysford home in heavy smoke. His neighbour helped him out with hay for his horses as the fire destroyed grass on his property.
CLOSE CALL: Ron Hughes almost died after a bushfire smothered his Dalysford home in heavy smoke. His neighbour helped him out with hay for his horses as the fire destroyed grass on his property. Mike Knott BUN200818RON8

Mr Hughes said if it wasn't for the fireys he would have lost the horses and his life.

With the fire coming less than 100 metres from the home, thick smoke filled the air.

"I couldn't breathe, and as I went down I remember yelling 'Julie call the ambulance for god's sake',” he said.

"Smoke was coming from everywhere it was like an inferno.”

FIRE SEASON: Multiple fire crews responded to fires at Dalysford. The fire came close to properties, with one landholder almost losing his horses. Fire crews worked to backburn around neighbouring properties.
FIRE SEASON: Multiple fire crews responded to fires at Dalysford. The fire came close to properties, with one landholder almost losing his horses. Fire crews worked to backburn around neighbouring properties. Queensland Rural Fire Service

He said there were multiple fire crews working to control the fire and said he wouldn't have survived if they weren't at the scene.

"I would have been dead if they weren't here,” Mr Hughes said.

"They were helping by giving me Ventolin and fanning me with whatever they could to help me breathe.

"This went on for about three-quarters of an hour before the ambulance arrived.”

CLOSE CALL: Ron Hughes almost died after a bushfire smothered his Dalysford home in heavy smoke.
CLOSE CALL: Ron Hughes almost died after a bushfire smothered his Dalysford home in heavy smoke. Mike Knott BUN200818RON4

The horses were saved, but the winter's food source went up in smoke.

Mr Hughes thanked his neighbours, Darby and Jan Munro, after they gave him a trailer full of hay to help feed the horses for the next week or two.

Mr and Mrs Munro have been in the area for 24 years and have never seen conditions as they are now.

"It's so dry and we are all lucky the fireys worked so hard to get a handle on it before it was too late,” Mrs Munro said.

The Rural Fire Service crews on scene included Tirroan, Wallaville, Gin Gin, Avondale, Bungadoo and Branyan. Auxiliary fire fighters from Gin Gin were also called out.

FIRE SEASON: Multiple fire crews responded to fires at Dalysford. The fire came close to properties, with one landholder almost losing his horses. Fire crews worked to backburn around neighbouring properties.
FIRE SEASON: Multiple fire crews responded to fires at Dalysford. The fire came close to properties, with one landholder almost losing his horses. Fire crews worked to backburn around neighbouring properties. Queensland Rural Fire Service


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