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9 November, 2020

Horror couple of days in Mareeba.

37 plus degree days and hot dry winds in Mareeba resulted in two consecutive days where Mareeba residents were warned to get ready to leave their homes due to local bushfires.

By Phil Brandel

Hot dry winds in Mareeba resulted in two consecutive days where Mareeba residents were warned to get ready to leave their homes due to local bushfires.

37 plus degree days and hot dry winds in Mareeba resulted in two consecutive days where Mareeba residents were warned to get ready to leave their homes due to local bushfires.

On Thursday November 5 residents of Mareeba were told to get ready to leave their homes after a fire started to threaten properties between Godfrey Road and Hastie Road that later threated properties around Rise Country Estate and Emerald Falls Estate.

At one stage there were 14 appliances with 46 fire fighters from the Rural Fire Service (RFS) and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) as well as two water bombers and a surveillance helicopter.

RFS units were called in from Kuranda, Davies Creek, Speewah and Tineroo as well as SES volunteers and Mareeba Shire Council workers.

Acting Inspector Brad Fleming Acting said the fire started as one front and then split in two.

“The grassfire started at around 10am at Gilmore road and then it escalated very quickly, the wind from the south-west didn’t help,” he said.

“The other fire was behind Jacques Coffee where firefighters started back burning and water bombing to get that fire under control.

“The guys did a fantastic job and we had a lot of help and support from locals and also from the RFS.”

Gabby Stark said she didn’t even manage to make it to her home in Country Road Estate. “I got into the line at the roadblock just after 2pm at Emerald End Road and I stayed in the line for about 3 hours before I turned around and went and stayed at a friend’s house.” she said

The fire around Emerald End Road was later brought under control with residents allowed to return back to their homes at around 6pm.

Just as firefighters and SES volunteers were gearing up to take on the two fire fronts, high voltage power lines came down on the Kennedy highway at around 2pm. About 1400 homes lost power, initially it was thought the power outage was caused by the nearby fires.

It was later revealed that a grader driver working on roadwork’s on the Kennedy Highway had snapped a nearby power pole, causing extensive damage.

According to an Ergon Energy spokesperson The first priority for Ergon crews was to make the area safe so the grader operator could safely exit the vehicle.

“Any contact with powerlines has the potential to cause serious injury or death, so drivers and machinery operators are advised to stay in the cab and wait for help.” they said.

“Bystanders should remain at least ten metres away and report the life-threatening hazard to emergency services on 000.   

“By 3:50pm crews had restored power to 1000 customers. The remaining customers were reconnected at 6:21pm after crews had completed emergency network repairs.”  

The grader operator exited the vehicle safely and investigations are continuing.

The second bushfire was on Friday, November 6 just after 2pm in the vicinity of Sabin Road East, Sabin Road West and Malone Road and was travelling in a westerly direction.

QFES worked with aerial water bombers to bring the blaze under control and just after 4pm they had announced that “QFES crews have contained a bushfire burning in the vicinity of Sabin Road East, Sabin Road West and Malone Road, Mareeba”.

Crews continued to monitor the blaze on Friday, which was burning under control and within containment lines with no reports of the fire from QFES on Saturday, November 7.

 


 

 

 

 


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