Fire danger needs examination
A HERVEY Bay man yesterday described as “a death trap” the Wondunna neighbourhood where he lives while a bush fire crackled to within 25 metres of homes of Huntingdale Park.
Fire officers from 10 crews controlled the afternoon blaze which sparked in bushland southwest of Hervey Bay airport.
Mark Long, station officer at the Torquay fire brigade, said that at no stage were the Gilston Road houses threatened.
He said the smoke rising from burning paper bark made it look worse than it was.
“Our first priority when we got there was the protection of the houses. Conditions were not as bad as in recent weeks and the area was pretty accessible.
“The wind was swirling which made it awkward but it was not a major problem.”
Firies were initially called out to deal with a burned out car but as the fire raged across the bush their attention was quickly diverted to homes.
Residents of the remote suburb busily hosed down their properties, among them Robert Parker.
“It’s a death trap. An absolute death trap,” he said. “There is only one entrance into this estate. Basically there is no fire exit.”
Mr Parker said he had raised his fears with the Fraser Coast council about six months ago, highlighting the limited access to and from the residential estate.
He estimated there were between 700 and 800 houses in the suburb.
“If a fire ever got in, there would be congestion. There has to be another way in and out of Gilston Road.”
“Neighbours are scared, really, really scared. Something’s got to be done.”
The council’s community safety officer has investigated residents’ concerns about access during an emergency and bushfire control measures.
A report examining alternative access routes that could be used in an emergency is due to be presented to the council soon.
Do you know what to do in the advent of a fire? Read Qld bushfire safety tips.