25 October, 2022
Suspicious fires take toll on farms
FARMERS in Mutchilba were left defending their properties from sudden suspicious fires last Wednesday - less than a month since an arson attack wiped out millions of dollars’ worth of farming in Chewko.
A “stay informed” warning was put out by Queensland Fire and Emergency Ser-vices (QFES) at 2.47pm for the Mutchilba area as fires continued to destroy bush and farm land between Pin Road and Springmount Road.
Queensland Police said they are investigating the fire, specifically one that broke out at 4pm on Lemonside Road.
“Police are investigating the circum-stances around a grass fire that broke out along Pin Road in Mutchilba shortly after 4pm (Wednesday),” a spokesperson said.
“Investigations are yet to find any evidence to support that the fire was deliberately lit.”
In the early afternoon, Tabacum farmer Damon Westwood was replanting passionfruit trees alongside his family and workers when they noticed smoke across the road.
Within less than 20 minutes, the fire had jumped across the road into his and four neighbouring farms, lighting up 10 acres of his own property.
The several fires on his property were strong due to the change in wind and it took up to two hours to contain them. The fire then spread through the hills in the distance.
Damon said his avocado crop which was affected by the fire can be revive thanks to the help of the local rural fire brigades who fought the blaze.
He believes the work the brigade and the community who were quick to come out and help made a huge impact in the future of his and his neighbouring farms.
“We really count ourselves lucky here,” Damon said.
“The volunteers at the rural fire bri-gades were very quick with their response and if they weren’t it would have been a lot worse. They make the world of difference, and their local knowledge goes a very long way.”
Anyone with information or dashcam footage from the area on Wednesday afternoon is urged to contact police.