Fourteen fire crews and a water-bombing helicopter battled a blaze near Howard yesterday.
Fourteen fire crews and a water-bombing helicopter battled a blaze near Howard yesterday. Alistair Brightman

Chainsaw sparks 50ha fire

EILEEN and Arthur Hornett spent all day yesterday guarding their house as fire roared through about 50 hectares at Howard.

Flames threatened the couple’s Prawle Street property after starting at about 12.20pm down the end of their road at Thomas Street.

“A lady down the road near where the fire started seems to think an elderly man was using a chainsaw which led to sparks and because he was elderly the fire just got away from him,” Ms Hornett told the Chronicle.

Firefighters, however, said that had not been confirmed and they were still investigating the cause of the blaze.

“Initial reports said it started with a chainsaw used for trimming tops off fence posts but it has not been confirmed,” Hervey Bay Rural Fire Brigade group officer Don Duffus said

Mr Duffus said the fire spread across open grass country down to the boundaries of homes on Thomas, James, Annie and Prawle streets. It then spread into solid timber country.

Twelve rural fire crews and two urban Maryborough crews fought to contain the blaze, creating control lines with a dozer and employing a water-bombing aircraft and fire-spotter plane.

Ms Hornett said she and her husband smelt smoke just after noon and then saw it billowing down the street. They went to call triple-0 but firefighters arrived.

The couple’s property faces bush so they spent the afternoon dousing their garden with water.

“The next thing we knew it came up past our house. It was a bit scary,” Ms Hornett said.

Mr Duffus said crews would return to Howard at 5.30am today and would monitor the area all week. Ideal fire conditions were expected with low humidity and northerly winds of up to 15kmh predicted. There was also a lot of fuel around, he said.

“As soon as they see any type of fire call triple-0 immediately,” Mr Duffus advised residents.

Firefighters were also battling a blaze which broke out at Gungaloon near Oakhurst Gardens on the Maryborough-Biggenden Road yesterday. No properties were under threat.



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