Aerial water bombing is being utilised to combat a scrub fire at Jubilee Pocket.
Aerial water bombing is being utilised to combat a scrub fire at Jubilee Pocket. Peter Carruthers

Firies call in water bombing chopper to fight Jubilee Pocket fire

AN aerial water bombing helicopter has been called in form Giru, north of Ayr, by the Queensland Rural Fire Service to help extinguish a scrub fire at Jubilee Pocket.

The fire has been burning since Thursday night after someone allegedly fired a flare into the bush.

There are 15 personnel, made up of professional fire fighters, auxiliary members and volunteers of the Rural Fire Service, currently battling the blaze

The crew from Conway has 1500 litres of water, the Cannon Valley brigade is on the ground with 500 litres and a team from Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service has 500 litres at their disposal.

A scrub fire has been burning at Jubilee Pocket since Thursday.
A scrub fire has been burning at Jubilee Pocket since Thursday. Peter Carruthers

On Friday after lunch the fire took off and the order was issued for the firebombing chopper.

Rural Fire Service area director Andrew Houley said crews cannot rely on the helicopter alone to extinguish the blaze.

"All the helicopter does is knock it down. Then you have to get in and drag the burning stuff out,” he said.

A crew is sitting up at a house on the ridge and other crews are at the foot of the range and tackling the fire from the low side of the hill.

Aerial water bombing of a scrub fire at Jubilee Pocket.
Aerial water bombing of a scrub fire at Jubilee Pocket. Peter Carruthers

"The intent is, once he has finished water bombing, to take a spur each and come down in crews of four and start raking up what has been water bombed and treat it as best as we can,” Mr Houley said.

"Then hold it and hopefully get a night with less wind.”

Mr Houley said Cyclone Debbie has increased the amount of fuel on the forest floor.

"There is two to two and half times the fuel on the ground. The canopy has been stripped from the trees and put on the ground and that is what drives the fire forward,” he said.

Rural Fire Service area director Andrew Houley on the ground at the Jubilee Pocket scrub fire.
Rural Fire Service area director Andrew Houley on the ground at the Jubilee Pocket scrub fire. Peter Carruthers

"The stuff which moves the fire from A to B is stuff no bigger than thickness of your finger.

"The logs and heavy timber create a lot of heat but they don't make the fire drive forward.”

Mr Houley said normally the shade created by the canopy is a natural barrier to fire.

"What's happened all that material is on the ground and the sunlight is beaming on it all the time and it's not used to being dry and is highly volatile.”

Aerial water bombing of a scrub fire at Jubilee Pocket.
Aerial water bombing of a scrub fire at Jubilee Pocket. Peter Carruthers

Mr Houley advised all Whitsunday residents to keep house gutters clear, to tidy up around the house and not to light fires without a permit.

Dryander and Gloucester rural fire brigades continue to battle the fire at Hydeaway Bay which has now moved into the area near the Cape Gloucester Eco Resort.


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