Neighbours join crews to battle Tableland fire
TABLELAND man Craig Thomas stood shoulder to shoulder with fire crews yesterday to fight off a raging fire that threatened to burn his home on Koah Rd.
"It was a quick fire and you don't realise how fast it travels until you have to fight it," Mr Thomas said.
"Once the wind picks it up, it's gone."
Neighbour Jarod Squaire was at work when the blaze began about 10am but a call from family prompted him to race home.
"I wasn't home when it happened but I had a missed call on my phone from my grandmother," Mr Squaire said.
"She saw the smoke so I came home to help."
About 10ha of a lychee plantation were burnt and both Mr Thomas' house and shed were under threat during the blaze, which crews said began after a neighbour's New Year's Day fire flared up in the dry conditions.
Just 40 minutes later a second fire was reported at Speewah and at least 11 crews worked for several hours in scorching temperatures to control both blazes.
Queensland Fire and Rescue Service Western Area Command Inspector Greg Livingstone said the ongoing dry conditions were playing havoc as the season continued into January for the first time in years.
"There's still an abundance of fuel out there and plenty of fuel ready to go up," he said.
Hot weather and dry conditions are forecast for the weekend, raising concerns of further fire outbreaks.
Temperatures climbed to close to 34C yesterday and are expected to stay that way throughout the weekend, with just some light showers forecast.
The showers would be welcomed but are unlikely to have much impact.
A QFRS spokeswoman said there was a total fire ban in place in the Far North.
Mr Miller sounded a warning to all homeowners in the area during the high fire danger period.
"All permits have been banned and there's to be no naked fires at this point in time," he said. tag Additional reporting Grace Uhr
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Battle: Jarod Squaire helped fight a blaze at Koah. Picture: KYLIE REGHENZANI