HELPING HANDS: Recruits from Brisbane and Tasmania have been helping fight fires in the Burnett region.
HELPING HANDS: Recruits from Brisbane and Tasmania have been helping fight fires in the Burnett region. Claudia Williams

Tasmanian experts sent in to fight Burnett fires

RECRUITS from Tasmania have arrived in region to provide their expertise to fight fires.

Four incident control operations logistics and planning specialists from Tasmania are working from Kingaroy's incident control centre, giving intelligence to the crews on the ground in the North and South Burnett.

The centre has received assistance from staff from Brisbane since Monday, who will now return to the city.

The Tasmanian specialists are working alongside South Burnett Rural Inspector Marty Taylor who is working as the deputy incident controller.

"The hardest thing is getting the incoming teams to appreciate the size of the Burnett area, the difficult terrain and how our volunteers work,” Mr Taylor said.

"They bring specialised knowledge because Tasmania is very similar to up here, except for weather, but the type of conditions we are seeing are very similar to what they have.”

Incident controller Mark Dobson, from Tasmania, said they were proud to be able to do their part to help the community.

"We are just here to do our job to help the locals to give them a spell so they can recharge because this is probably going to go on for a week or two,” he said.

"In times in Tassie we have had Queenslanders and New South Welshmen and Victorians come and help us so it is really one of those great reciprocal things that when the chips are down we all come together and help out.”

As well as additional specialists in the control centre, four NSW trucks and a command car are in Kingaroy. They have not yet been deployed, but will be the first crews to respond when a job arises.

"We haven't had to respond the interstate trucks yet but all our local brigades have been on a heightened level of awareness and responding very quickly,” Mr Taylor said.

The South Burnett Rural Inspector praised the effort from the region's urban and rural crews in fighting fires this week.

"The word 'unprecedented' has been used a lot and it is very important that we tell our firefighters that they are not going to be seeing normal fire behaviour, so it is going to be hotter, faster and it is going to travel a long way quickly,” he said.

"Your normal firefighting tactics won't work in this situation.”

Local knowledge has been invaluable when fighting fires this week.

"Local of knowledge is really important and we have got some really good guys here who have excellent local knowledge and have lived here all their lives,” Mr Taylor said.

Crews were scanning the area from Mt Wooroolin on Wednesday when they identified the fire at Memerambi, and thanks to knowledge of the area, were able to know exactly where it was burning.

This week a fire at Runnymede was identified by an air observer from a helicopter.

They called in the water bombers stationed at Kingaroy airport who put two direct hits on the head of the fire.

"We were able to get our crews in quickly and that is how we are able to keep that one small because it would have gone for weeks,” Mr Taylor said.

He said his team would continue to work hard to ensure the community was safe during the festive season.

"We are trying to have a coordinated approach for the next seven toeight weeks to Christmas and beyond,” he said.

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