Local fireys join battle lines in SE Queensland

Volunteers from the Rural Fire Service's Lake George Zone were deployed last week to help their Queensland counterparts fight fires at Sarabah on the Gold Coast hinterland.

Sixteen volunteers from Lake George and four from Cooma-Monaro Zone joined the battle lines on Monday, September 9, as fires threatened homes and properties in and around the Lamington National Park.

Liam MacWilliam, a 10-year RFS veteran, said his team put in a 14-hour day on Monday and around 36 hours in the three days of firefighting.

Back home: RFS volunteers Liam MacWilliam and Jess Love flew to Queensland last week to help fight fires in the Gold Coast hinterland. Photo by Phil Mayne.

Back home: RFS volunteers Liam MacWilliam and Jess Love flew to Queensland last week to help fight fires in the Gold Coast hinterland. Photo by Phil Mayne.

"On our first day we started at 7am working to protect properties under direct threat from a fire coming out of a valley," he said.

"At some stages flames got to within 50m of the houses. It was difficult to contain with winds gusting from 60kmh to 120kmh throughout the day.

"There was a severe fire danger, so with the strong winds it was nasty from the start."

Jess Love, from Bungendore, said the following two days were mainly spent creating and strengthening fire-containment lines.

"On Tuesday we were redeployed to O'Reilly's to relieve some of the Queensland firefighters who had been there for a week.

"The two days out there were quieter, but we were certainly kept busy building containment lines and reacting to any breakouts."

Up to our necks: RFS volunteers Jason Hooper and Jess Love (and the cow) are all smiles after the mud-hole rescue last week in Queensland. Photo supplied.

Up to our necks: RFS volunteers Jason Hooper and Jess Love (and the cow) are all smiles after the mud-hole rescue last week in Queensland. Photo supplied.

Ms Love and Lake George Zone colleague Jason Hooper did, however, manage to save a life while they were deployed.

"Jason and I came across a young cow stuck in a mud hole," she said. "She had been stuck there for at least a day because she was very weak.

"Jason and I got in there with her and tried to ease her out.

"She was stuck solid so we ended up using a hose as a sling and slowly dragged her out. It took about an hour-and-a-half to free her."

Queensland police are investigating arson as a possibility in the fire, which destroyed 11 houses and five businesses.