BLAZE: Firefighters battled all afternoon to contain the blaze that threatened 30 homes.
BLAZE: Firefighters battled all afternoon to contain the blaze that threatened 30 homes. Cleo Halec

Residents prepare for evacuation as blaze threatens homes

UP TO 30 crews were called into battle a widespread blaze sparked by a car fire, which burned close to Australia Zoo.

The fire sparked up on Sunday and firefighters were quickly kept busy, as homes near Steve Irwin Way at Beerwah were threatened.

Alerts were issued advising residents to prepare for evacuation, or to stay and carry out their bushfire survival plans, as the flames moved steadily through plantation land near the zoo.

 

BLAZE: The car believed to have started a bushfire near Beerwah.
BLAZE: The car believed to have started a bushfire near Beerwah. Andrew Watson

Australia Zoo worked with firies to ensure no threat to animals, guests or staff, and up to four fire crews worked within the zoo itself, to ensure embers didn't spark spotfires within the grounds of the zoo.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Service Inspector Bernie Massingham said three enclosures closest to the blaze were evacuated to protect the animals.

About 30 homes at Foley Road were under threat as the flames burned south-westerly.

Nearby shop workers said plenty of customers had entered the store concerned about the smoke, while Beerwah Golf Club members enjoyed a round as usual, as water-bombing helicopters buzzed overhead assisting ground crews.

Mr Massingham said "very, very conservative" back burning was carried out throughout the afternoon, while heavy machinery was brought in to cut containment lines.

 

BLAZE: Rural firefighters wet down the back of the Australia Zoo block near the intersection of Irwin Rd.
BLAZE: Rural firefighters wet down the back of the Australia Zoo block near the intersection of Irwin Rd. Stuart Cumming

It paid off, as the fire shifted late yesterday afternoon, burning back upon itself, leaving Mr Massingham confident the fire would be brought under control.

Irwin Road was closed for some time as thick smoke blanketed the area.

As of time of print there had been no property lost.


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