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Blaze last Thursday was the worst in 50 years seen by firie

MAURICE Hetherington has spent 50 years battling blazes with the Rural Fire Service.

But a bushfire which swept through the Kokotungo area, south of Baralaba, last Thursday was one he described as the biggest he had witnessed in his time with the brigade.

Rural firefighter Maurice Hetherington with former Banana Shire mayor John Hooper
Rural firefighter Maurice Hetherington with former Banana Shire mayor John Hooper

Speaking to ABC radio last week, Maurice (pictured) said the fire burned through 1600 to 2000ha of property.

But most of all, Maurice wanted to thank all the volunteers who came to help battle the blaze.

He said there were people from Rockhampton, Alton Downs, Mount Morgan, Biloela, Baralaba and Thangool.

The crews were also assisted by a Banana grader company, who lent a hand with their machines.

Maurice said the crews wouldn't have been able to control the fire without the help of the graders.

"You've just got to say a big thanks to all of them, it's just incredible," Maurice told ABC radio.

"I'm very humbled to think that people can drop tools and come to a job like that. Basically, they just turned up in droves."

Maurice said the fire started in Kokotungo and wasn't a registered burn.

"This thing was totally out of control," he said.

"We had unusual choppy winds through the night, which is a firefighter's greatest nightmare of course, but it always could be worse.

"This one was the biggest I've seen in 50 years here.

"The saddest part is one property which was fairly well damaged had just been bought by new people."

Meanwhile, yesterday fire crews fought to contain two fires on the Capricorn Coast.

The fires, at Woodbury and Stanage Bay, broke out in the late afternoon.

The Woodbury fire was contained and the road re-opened at 6.30pm.

The Stanage Bay fire was contained at 6.15pm and was being monitored overnight.

Topics:  baralaba bushfire


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