Gaeta blaze 'biggest yet'

DOZENS of firefighters were struggling to control a massive bushfire at Gaeta yesterday, which ripped through 3000 hectares of bushland in less than 24 hours.

The inferno started at Mooney Road, near Gin Gin, about 3pm on Thursday and burned down an empty shed overnight before spreading towards Kalpowar Road and Retreat Road yesterday afternoon.

Yesterday lunchtime, the flames jumped containment lines despite the frantic and courageous efforts of almost 40 firefighters.

Helicopters were used to help put out the flames, dropping thousands of litres of water on the fire front.

“It's the worst fire we have seen so far this year,” Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) rural operations manager Tony Johnstone said.

“We have been waterbombing the area and there are 12 appliances out here working.”

He said residents of the area must make sure their properties were safe and they were well-prepared if the fire reached their land.

“We are working on different strategies to contain it over the next few days, like fire breaks, back-burning and working with land owners,” Mr Johnstone said.

“If people do decide to relocate, they must let people know where they are, and make sure their property is protected.”

Mr Johnstone said no other buildings or homes were under threat, although the fire was close to properties.

While initial reports from the QFRS suggested the devastating blaze may have been sparked by someone burning off rubbish, Mr Johnstone said the cause was still being identified.

“It's still unknown at this point, but we are investigating,” he said.

About 20km away from the Gaeta blaze, a further eight fire crews were battling a grassfire at Sunday Creek Road, Mt Perry, that started about 11.30am on Thursday.

A QFRS spokesperson said crews were monitoring the fire last night.

Fires were also burning at Kalpowar and Cania near Monto, but were not posing any threat to property.



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