Firefighters and home owners battle to fight flames roaring up the hillside to the lawns of houses on top of a hill near The Leap, 21m north of Mackay, yesterday.
Firefighters and home owners battle to fight flames roaring up the hillside to the lawns of houses on top of a hill near The Leap, 21m north of Mackay, yesterday. Ross Irby

Homes metres from fast moving fire disaster

FLAMES from a fast-moving bushfire came within metres of luxury homes at The Leap.

Fuelled by dry grass and scrub, flames fanned by strong north-easterly winds scorched a blackened path as they tore up a gulley to threaten ridge-top homes at The Leap Views estate.

Fire and Emergency Services officers from Mackay and volunteer Rural Fire crews fought back, helped by residents and their friends wielding garden hoses.

By 5pm yesterday the worst was over, especially for one couple whose home came under direct threat until the grass fuelling the blaze burned off.

Home owners Mel and Mark, who did not want their surname used, praised the efforts of fire officers and others who dropped in to help.

"Mel was petrified," said husband Mark, who was not quite so stressed by the close call. "I was extremely worried," Mel said

"We just want to say thank you to the firies and everyone who pitched in."

It was a hell of a way to spend Sunday afternoon as the hot weather conditions combined with north-easterly winds gusting to 24kmh spread a series of fires in the valley below.

Among the rural crews from Marian, Dumbleton, Habana and elsewhere was football player Nick Perna, just two days way from heading to Italy to train with AC Milan.

Fire crews were first called out just after midday to attend a bushfire threatening homes and property on the Maraju-Yakapari Rd. Flames came right up to fences and patrons from The Leap hotel arrived to help.

Water and cold soft drinks were brought down by the publican for the firefighters.

The fire then roared up the steep slope of the hillside toward Ian Reddacliff Dr and became fast-moving as it headed toward the ridge-top homes.


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