Fight for control
RELIEF was obvious on the faces of everyone at the final briefing at the Mundubbera fire command centre on Sunday.
Queensland Fire and Rescue Service officers announced the fire that had been burning for almost a week was finally under control.
The large bushfire had been burning in inaccessible land in the Allies Creek State Forest and had spread to pastoral and grassland south-west of Mundubbera.
More than 120,000 acres or 48,500 hectares were burned, but no homes or stock were reported as lost.
A strike team from Rockhampton joined several other crews, volunteer rural brigades, Parks and Wildlife officers and landowners to fight the massive blaze.
QFRS set up a control centre at the Mundubbera Fire Station to assist the local community and monitor the health and wellbeing of fire crews.
On Sunday landowners were relieved to hear QFRS was ramping down in the Mundubbera area and moving to Kingaroy where lightning strikes had caused problems.
QFRS bushfire safety officer Craig Magick said safety had been managed “extremely well”.
“Tech support helped out with a few black spots so that plans could be communicated effectively,” he said.
Mayor Don Waugh and Councillor Faye Whelan said they were grateful for the professional and effective way the operation was carried out.
But communication was identified as an area needing attention.
“In the North Burnett we have huge areas of forest and vulnerability and poor mobile phone reception,” Cr Whelan said.
“The black spots are a concern, which we’ll try to address.”
Some residents said they had been surprised at the number of people working at the command centre.
But Cr Whelan said each person had an important role to play.
“It was a large area so the ground crews had to be deployed to certain areas and managed,” Cr Whelan said.
“People have to do this otherwise it would be a shambles.
“The command centre personnel managed communications ... so the need was for technicians, IT people and fire service people who could use the satellite technology.
“Safety officers patrolled the fire and kept everyone safe. Other officers reported the status of the event regularly and dealt with media.
“The food and accommodation for the volunteers and QFRS was dealt with by a section together with fuel and other supplies.
“There were fire inspectors and controllers who liaise with the commissioner and the council and officers to record and document the event.”
Cr Whelan said it had been a professionally--managed event.
“If they had been ad hoc and an incident occurred the public would have wanted answers,” she said.
Agriculture Minister John McVeigh is urging primary producers severely affected by the fires to make an Individually Disaster Stricken Property application. Primary producers who have suffered substantial loss should phone the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry on 13 25 23 as soon as possible and request an IDSP assessment.
■ What did you think about the fire response? Were you affected? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org .au.
FINAL BRIEFING: Relieved that the massive fire is under control, Joe Cullen (QFRS Brigade training and support officer) and Craig Magick (QFRS bushfire safety officer) showthe extent of the burned area to Mayor Don Waugh and Councillor Faye Whelan in Mundubbera on Sunday morning.