BLAZE: Traffic was brought to a stand still by a large fire which ignited near Patrick Estate last week.
BLAZE: Traffic was brought to a stand still by a large fire which ignited near Patrick Estate last week.

Lowood blaze the ‘fastest’ fire fighters have ever seen

FIRE fighters who battled the Patrick Estate fire have described it as one of the fastest moving blazes they have every seen.

The blaze ripped through grassland at Patrick Estate and Wivenhoe Pocket, and forced the evacuation of areas of Lowood at the weekend.

Acting Inspector Brad Jeffs was the incident controller on the day and said the speed of the fire was incredible.

“There was short grass right through the paddocks and I’ve never seen it go so fast,” Insp Jeffs said.

“It was all due to the dryness of the soil and the grass, and the wind and a hot day.

“It just took off on us as fast as I’ve seen a fire go.”

Investigations into the cause of the blaze are ongoing, but Insp Jeffs said crews first responded to calls regarding a car on fire on the corner of West Road and Patrick Estate Road.

“We’re not sure if it was the car that caught fire first or the grass that caught fire first,” he said.

More than 100 fire fighters, as well as 45 appliances and four aircraft, battled the blaze into the night on Friday.

While several sheds and stables were impacted by the fire, Insp Jeffs said no homes were lost and it was a testament to the hard work of the crews on the ground and in the air.

“Because of the fire weather we have, we use what is called a weighted attack – so for a normal grass fire we’d have two appliances going,” he said.

“We doubled that from the start, so we had four right from the start – and I just kept calling more and more appliances.”

With the fire season far from over, Insp Jeffs said QFES was well aware crews were starting to tire and were resting them where possible to control fatigue.

The same went for the fire trucks, which were receiving extra mechanical attention to ensure they were in top shape.

He warned the speed of last week’s fire took many residents by surprise, and it was an important reminder to ensure bushfire survival plans were in place before a fire broke out.