SMOKE CHOKE: Kites, eagles and hawks soared through the smoke as their habitats succumbed to the flames.
SMOKE CHOKE: Kites, eagles and hawks soared through the smoke as their habitats succumbed to the flames. Valeria Horton

Raging fires threaten pine plantation

FORESTRY Plantations Queensland hopes to salvage more than 550 hectares of pine trees ravaged by fire in Maryborough this week.

Tuan State Forest went up in smoke about noon on Wednesday after a bushfire on the northern side of Boonooroo Road got out of control.

The fire was contained by sunset but yesterday large spot fires continued to rage on both sides of the road.

A water-bombing helicopter dumped thousands of litres of water throughout the day while rural crews battled on the ground to keep the spot fires within the fire breaks.

Meanwhile FPQ staff and forest health experts went up in a chopper to examine the damage to their pine trees, planted in the early 1980s.

Ian Last, FPQ Fraser Coast manager, said the fire had been a major blow but he did not believe all 550 hectares would go to waste.

“We will salvage whatever we can,” he said. “I'm not certain that 100 per cent of the 550 hectares are a write-off.

“The most damaged pine trees will be salvaged with the highest priority.”

Mr Last said FPQ's customers - including main customer Hyne and Son's Tuan Sawmill - would then be alerted to whether they would have to adjust their harvesting.

Because the fire damage may cause some of the trees to die, they would have to be removed as soon as possible.

It was unknown yesterday how Wednesday's fire started.



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