Monday, 30 March 2020
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More than 50 days of fire

The air is clear of smoke this morning and we can again see the scenic beauty that surrounds us.

The fires are still with us but the work of the firefighters and milder fire weather has subdued the advance and most have been corralled into areas high in the mountains. 

It is now 51 days since the fire which started on the other side of  the range in the Swanfels district came over Mt Huntley and burned down into the Moogerah-Carney’s Creek area. It is 42 days since the lightning strike on Double Peak sparked the fire which became known as the Burnett’s Creek and then the Mt Barney National Park fires. And it is 20 days since  the resources of the brigades at Tarome and Rosevale were boosted as a firestorm ‘flowed like lava’ down Mt Castle into the heights of the Tarome district.

On many of those days the noise of water bombing helicopters and fixed wing aircraft on en route to attack the most vicious of the fire fronts has been a comforting sound. Comfort has also been found in the sight of mutliple fire trucks and crews on our roads and in our streets from throughout the Scenic Rim, SEQ, 

Tasmania, the Northern Territory and New Zealand. 

We’ve learned through words, photographs and videos of the almost pinpoint accuracy of the pilots in dumping the water on the hotspots and the tenacity and skill of the relief firefighters who came to help us.

We also gained an understanding of the commitment of our local fire crews and their unwavering dedication to battling the fires and saving buildings from destruction.

The establishment of a major QFES incident control centre at the Boonah Showgrounds to manage the logistics was an indication of the magnitude of the disaster we faced. The presence of the local SES and many more from broader afield has also shown the value of these volunteers to our community.

We have been heartened by evidence of our strength of community through the willingness to support the wonderful work of the Fassifern Salvation Army and all those who wanted to volunteer to help them or donate food stuffs to support the Salvos canteen.

And we thank the hundreds of thousands of people who have reached out through our daily Fassifern Guardian facebook posts and our weekly print edition with messages of sympathy and support to our community. We know we have not been alone.

Our Fire Updates on facebook will now become less regular. But we will certainly ensure everyone knows when the Cunningham Highway and the Mt Lindesay Highways re-open. And we will keep everyone posted on the fight to subdue the Mt Barney National Park-Burnett’s Creek fires and any news from the other firefronts.

We know from the NSW Rural Fires page that as of yesterday (Tuesday) morning, more than 16,600 hectares (over 41,000 acres) of land has been burnt out in the Mt Barney National Park-Burnett’s Creek fire to date. While we don’t have an estimate of country burnt in the other fire fronts, we do know that extensive tracts of land are now fire-blackened. We also understand that  up to 50 kilometres or more of fencing and considerable invaluable cattle feed has been lost.

It will be a long journey for the landholders in recovering from these losses. And for the wider community economy which has also suffered a severe blow. 

What we need now is steady falls of drought-breaking, fire-quenching rain. Just as importantly, we need to continue to support each other, our community, the firefighters and other emergency services personnel. While the wish for rain may not be fulfilled in the near future, we know the support from within our community and beyond our borders, will continue.