Road closed at Grapetree Road and New England Highway, Pechey. Picture: Nev Madsen. Wednesday, 13th Nov, 2019.
Road closed at Grapetree Road and New England Highway, Pechey. Picture: Nev Madsen. Wednesday, 13th Nov, 2019. Nev Madsen

AS IT HAPPENED: Pechey fire flares up and helicopter crashes

FOR THE LATEST UPDATES ON THE PECHEY FIRE CLICK HERE

WEDNESDAY, 7.30PM: QFES has issued another order for residents in the Pechey area to leave immediately.

At 7.25pm a fast-moving fire is travelling in a westerly direction between Pechey and Hampton.

It is expected to impact Deeth Road, Lanyon Road, Williams Road, Pechey Forestry Road, Misty Mountain Road and the New England Highway in the coming hours.

The fire is expected to have a significant impact on the community.

The New England Highway is currently closed to the north of Munro Road.

Leaving immediately is the safest option, as it will soon be too dangerous to drive.

SEE PHOTOS FROM PECHEY HELICOPTER CRASH

Conditions are now very dangerous and firefighters may soon be unable to prevent the fire advancing.

The fire may pose a threat to all lives directly in its path.

Fire crews may not be able to protect your property.

You should not expect a firefighter at your door: act now.

Power, water, and mobile phone service may be lost and road conditions may become very dangerous over the next several hours.

Residents evacuating should travel south along the New England Highway towards an evacuation centre which has been established at Highfields Indoor Sports Centre, O'Brien Road, Highfields.

WEDNESDAY, 5.24PM: QUEENSLAND Fire and Emergency Services are advising residents in the path of a large bushfire near Pechey to leave immediately.

"Currently as at 5.10pm, Wednesday 13 November, a fast-moving fire is travelling in a north-easterly direction between Pechey and Hampton," a QFES alert said.

"It is expected to impact Deeth Road, Lanyon Road, Williams Road and Pechey Forestry Road, Pechey in the coming hours. The fire is expected to have a significant impact on the community.

"Conditions are now very dangerous and firefighters may soon be unable to prevent the fire advancing. The fire may pose a threat to all lives directly in its path. Fire crews may not be able to protect your property.

"You should not expect a firefighter at your door: Act now. Power, water, and mobile phone service may be lost and road conditions may become very dangerous over the next several hours.

"Residents evacuating should travel along the New England Highway towards an evacuation centre which has been established at Highfields Indoor Sports Centre, O'Brien Road, Highfields."

People in the area will be affected by smoke, which will reduce visibility and air quality. Call Triple Zero (000) immediately if you believe you are under threat. 

5.10PM: TOOWOOMBA Regional Council has opened the Highfields Aquatic and Fitness Centre as an emergency evacuation centre for residents affected by the Pechey bushfire, near Hampton.

All normal operations of the centre have ceased until further notice.

TRC has advised residents who are evacuating to the centre to travel along the New England Hwy.

The centre is located at O'Brien Rd, Highfields.

4.50PM: FIRE fighters are in for a busy night with a major wind change about to collide with the Pechey bush fire.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Vince Rowlands said an easterly change passed over Gatton at 4.30pm and was expected to reach the fire zone within the hour.

"The wind will swing around to be an easterly that is pushing westward," he said.

Those easterly winds are expected to continue through the night, shifting to a northerly in the early hours of Thursday.

"They will ease off but there might be a bit of swinging," Mr Rowlands said.

3.40PM: EMERGENCY services are issuing evacuation notices to residents in the Pechey area as fire conditions continue to worsen.

Acting Inspector Regan Draheim said a number of homes expected to be impacted by the fire had already been evacuated.

The pilot who made a forced landing in a waterbombing helicopter earlier today has been taken to hospital in a stable condition.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services have set-up a safety zone around the aircraft and are working to make it safe.

The helicopter that crashed at Pechey, near Hampton, as seen from the 7 News/ABC News helicopter.
The helicopter that crashed at Pechey, near Hampton, as seen from the 7 News/ABC News helicopter. 7 News/ABC News

The Chronicle understands firefighters are concerned about the fuel inside the aircraft.

QAS senior operations supervisor Mark Hancock said the male with minor injuries was assessed by paramedics from Highfields, Crows Nest and Toowoomba.

Emergency services have provided no further details on the man's injuries or the cause behind the crash.

The ATSB confirmed the helicopter involved was a Bell 214B.

"The ATSB has been notified of a collision with terrain involving a Bell 214B helicopter conducting firefighting operations at Pechey, near Toowoomba, on Wednesday afternoon," an ATSB spokesperson said.

"The ATSB will gather further information into the circumstances of the accident ahead of deciding whether to launch a formal air safety investigation."

3.30PM: THE Queensland Fire and Emergency Services has warned Pechey residents to leave immediately as it will soon be too dangerous to drive. 

"Currently as at 3.20pm, a fast-moving fire is travelling in a north-easterly direction between Pechey and Hampton. It is expected to impact Deeth Road, Lanyon Road, Williams Road and Pechey Forestry Road, Pechey within the next hour. The fire is expected to have a significant impact on the community," QFES said. 

"Conditions are now very dangerous and firefighters may soon be unable to prevent the fire advancing. The fire may pose a threat to all lives directly in its path. Fire crews may not be able to protect your property. You should not expect a firefighter at your door: act now. Power, water, and mobile phone service may be lost and road conditions may become very dangerous over the next several hours.

"Residents evacuating should travel along the New England Highway towards an evacuation centre which has been established at Highfields Cultural Centre, O'Brien Road, Highfields. People in the area will be affected by smoke, which will reduce visibility and air quality.

"Follow your bushfire survival plan now. If you do not have a plan, your safest option is to leave immediately if it is clear to do so. If you cannot leave, identify where you will seek shelter from the bushfire. If you are not in the area, do not return, as conditions are too dangerous."

2.50PM: A QUEENSLAND Ambulance Service spokesman said the pilot of a helicopter involved in a heavy landing near Peachy had been transported to hospital by paramedics. 

"One patient has been transported to Toowoomba Hospital in a stable condition after a heavy helicopter landing in Pechey at 1.52pm," the spokesman said.

The heavy landing occurred near Grape Tree Rd.

The incident has been reported to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

2.30PM: A waterbombing aircraft fighting the Pechey fire north of Toowoomba has crashed the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services has confirmed.

"The call came in before 2pm," the QFES spokeswoman said.

"QFES and QAS are on the scene assessing the pilot.

"It's still too early to know what happened.

"They crashed during a water bombing operation."

2PM: The Hampton Rural Fire Brigade has urged Hampton residents to remain vigiliant as a dangerous bushfire continues to threaten homes at Pechey, just near the small town. 

"Hampton community, please keep an eye on the wind direction over coming hours," a Hampton Rural Fire Brigade spokesperson said on Facebook.

"(The Bureau of Meteorology) is predicting the wind to change from WSW to S by 6pm, but then to come from the south to the east by 9pm. Windspeeds will remain around the 20kms until the early hours of tomorrow morning.

"Make your decisions based on the location of the fire (off Grapetree Road between Bush Road, Misty Mountain Road and Munro Road at Pechey) in relation to your place.

"If in doubt, head into town and visit friends/family for the night, take pets and medication with you."

Rebecca Dunstall‎ shared this image of the Pechey fire.
Rebecca Dunstall‎ shared this image of the Pechey fire. Rebecca Dunstall‎

1.15PM: Pechey residents have been told not to return to the area as the fire is 'too dangerous'.

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) has advisesed there is a bushfire in Pechey and Hampton and conditions are getting worse.

"Follow your bushfire survival plan now. If you do not have a plan, your safest option is to leave now if it is clear to do so. If you are not in the area, do not return, as conditions are too dangerous," QFES said. 

"Currently as at 1pm a fast moving fire is travelling from Grapetree Road towards Deeth Road, Sewell Road, Parker Road, Bush Road and Misty Mountain Road. It is currently impacting Parker Road and Sewell Road. The fire could have on the significant impact on the community.

"Fire crews with support from waterbombing operations are working to contain the fire but firefighters may not be able to protect every property. You should not expect a firefighter at your door. Power, water, and mobile phone service may be lost.

"People in the area will be affected by smoke, which will reduce visibility and air quality.

"People leaving the area should make their way towards the New England Highway."

Rebecca Dunstall took these photos of the Pechey fire, near Hampton.
Rebecca Dunstall took these photos of the Pechey fire, near Hampton. Rebecca Dunstall

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO:

  • Listen to your local radio station or visit the Rural Fire Service (RFS) website for regular updates.
  • Put on protective clothing (e.g., a long-sleeved cotton shirt, boots with thick soles).
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

If you are leaving:

  • Secure your pets for safe transport.
  • Check for road closures and then advise family and friends of your intended travel route.
  • Take your important documents and essential items (e.g., passports, birth certificates, prescription medication, food and water, and protective clothing) when you leave.
  • Drive with caution in low visibility conditions.

If you are unable to leave:

  • Bring pets inside; restrain them with a leash, a cage, or inside a secure room; and provide them with plenty of water.
  • Move flammable materials such as doormats, wheelie bins, and outdoor furniture away from your house.
  • Fill containers such as your bath, sinks, and buckets with water so you have access to drinking water and firefighting water.
  • Close windows and doors, sealing the gaps under doors and screens with wet towels to keep smoke out of the house.
  • If you suffer from a respiratory condition, keep your medication close by.

KEEP UP TO DATE BY:

  • Following QFES on Facebook (@QldFireandEmergencyServices) and Twitter (@QldFES)
  • Staying tuned to your local radio station. Find your local ABC radio station at https://radio.abc.net.au/help/offline and your local commercial radio station at http://www.commercialradio.com.au/find-a-station/queensland;
  • Visiting the Rural Fire Service (RFS) website at www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au/map

FURTHER INFORMATION:

  • For bushfire preparation tips, visit the RFS website: www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au/BushFire_Safety
  • For information about road closures, call 13 19 40 or visit www.qldtraffic.qld.gov.au

Taken just now from the new estate overlooking towards Munro Road.

Posted by Candice Collard on Tuesday, November 12, 2019

10.50AM: The Peechy bushfire remains at a watch and act level with residents told to prepare to leave.

As of 10.40am the fast-moving fire is travelling from Grapetree Road towards Deeth Road, Sewell Road, Bush Road and Misty Mountain Road. The fire is likely to impact these roads in the coming hours.

Fire crews with support from waterbombing operations are working to contain the fire but firefighters may not be able to protect every property. You should not expect a firefighter at your door.

Emergency services are also currently responding to a vegetation fire at Baxters Rd and Hilltop Dr, Gowrie Junction.

One vehicle is currently on the scene. 

9.40AM: Hampton Rural Fire Service first officer Andrew Kahler said the Pechey fire was currently threatening a number of rural homes in the Hampton area but Mr Kahler is confident his men will be able to control the situation.

"We have a lot of crews here to protect them," he said.

The fire is moving east from Grapetree Rd towards Deeth Rd, Sewell Rd, Bush Rd and Misty Mountain Rd. It is likely to impact these roads in the coming hours.

Mr Kahler said it is heading away from the Pechey State Forest, but a wind change expected later today could put it in danger.

"The fire currently is in very heavy natural vegetation and would be pushing close to 180 -200 hectares burnt," Mr Kahler said.

READ MORE: How the Hampton fire broke its containment line

Rebecca Dunstall‎ shared this image of the Pechey fire.
Rebecca Dunstall‎ shared this image of the Pechey fire. Rebecca Dunstall‎

9AM: A FAST-MOVING bushfire just north of Toowoomba, near Hampton, could get worse throughout the day.

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) advises there is a bushfire near Pechey and Hampton and conditions could get worse.

You need to be ready to follow your bushfire survival plan. If you do not have a plan, or intend to leave, you should be ready to leave the area because the situation could get worse quickly.

Currently as at 8.40am, a fast-moving fire is travelling from Grapetree Road towards Deeth Road, Sewell Road, Bush Road and Misty Mountain Road. The fire is likely to impact these roads in the coming hours.

Fire crews with support from waterbombing operations are working to contain the fire but firefighters may not be able to protect every property. You should not expect a firefighter at your door.

People in the area will be affected by smoke, which will reduce visibility and air quality.

Leave now notices remain in place for Spicers Peak Lodge and a prepare to leave warning remains in place at Clumber and Moogerah, Mount Alphen and Double Top and Tarome.

Full list of warning below. 

7AM: THE Cunningham Highway from Lake Moogerah Road to the Top Of The Gap near Tregony remains closed this morning as a bushfire threatens the local area.

The road is closed to all traffic and motorists should use a different route.

A leave now notice has also been issued for Spicers Peak Lodge, a luxury retreat located near Cunninghams Gap.

A bushfire which broke out in Pechey, near Hampton overnight has been contained, though residents have been urged to stay informed. 

The Bureau of Meteorology said while there was a severe fire danger warning for the Darling Downs and Granite Belt today, there could be extreme conditions in some parts of the region.

"Hot, dry and gusty northwesterly winds ahead of a cold front moving across southern Queensland will push further eastwards, with dry and gusty west to southwesterly winds following the passage of the front," a BoM spokesperson said.

"This will result in severe fire dangers in the Darling Downs and Granite Belt, Southeast Coast and Wide Bay and Burnett districts today.

"Locally extreme fire dangers are also possible in the far eastern Darling Downs and in the western Lockyer Valley."

Current bushfire warnings for the Darling Downs and Granite Belt:

PREPARE TO LEAVE: Pechey (near Hampton) bushfire as at 8.45am Wed 13 Nov

13th November 2019 8:45 AM

Bushfire warning level: WATCH AND ACT

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) advises there is a bushfire near Pechey and Hampton and conditions could get worse.

You need to be ready to follow your bushfire survival plan. If you do not have a plan, or intend to leave, you should be ready to leave the area because the situation could get worse quickly.

Currently as at 8.40am Wednesday 13 November, a fast-moving fire is travelling from Grapetree Road towards Deeth Road, Sewell Road, Bush Road and Misty Mountain Road. The fire is likely to impact these roads in the coming hours.

Fire crews with support from waterbombing operations are working to contain the fire but firefighters may not be able to protect every property. You should not expect a firefighter at your door.

People in the area will be affected by smoke, which will reduce visibility and air quality.

Call Triple Zero (000) immediately if you believe your property is under threat.

PREPARE TO LEAVE: Clumber and Moogerah (south of Boonah) bushfire as at 8.15am Wed 13 Nov

13th November 2019 8:15 AM

Bushfire warning level: WATCH AND ACT

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) advises there is a bushfire in Clumber and Moogerah and conditions could get worse.

You need to be ready to follow your bushfire survival plan. If you do not have a plan, or intend to leave, you should be ready to leave the area because the situation could get worse quickly.

Currently as at 8.15am Wednesday, 13 November, a fire is continuing to travel in a north, north-easterly direction towards Wilson Road. The fire is not directly impacting properties along Wilson Road, however this could change quickly and those who haven't already left, should be ready to leave.

Firefighters are working to contain the blaze with the assistance of waterbombing aircraft and machinery.

Firefighters may not be able to protect every property. You should not expect a firefighter at your door.

A place of refuge for horses is open at Boonah Showgrounds, 8 Melbourne Street.

People in the area will be affected by smoke, which will reduce visibility and air quality.

Call Triple Zero (000) immediately if you believe your property is under threat.

PREPARE TO LEAVE: Mount Alphen and Double Top (part of Clumber fire) bushfire as at 8.10am Wed 13 Nov

13th November 2019 8:10 AM

Bushfire warning level: WATCH AND ACT

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) advises there is a bushfire in Mount Alphen and Double Top and conditions could get worse.

You need to be ready to follow your bushfire survival plan. If you do not have a plan, or intend to leave, you should be ready to leave the area because the situation could get worse quickly.

Currently as at 8.10am Wednesday, 13 November, an unpredictable bushfire is continuing to burn north of Spicers Gap Road, near Mount Mathieson.

The bushfire is continuing to travel in a north, north-easterly direction towards the Cunningham Highway. The Cunningham Highway is currently closed at Cunninghams Gap as a result of this fire.

Firefighters are working to contain the blaze and will continue to monitor the fire throughout the day.

Firefighters may not be able to protect every property. You should not expect a firefighter at your door.

A place of refuge for horses has been opened at Boonah Showgrounds, 8 Melbourne Street.

People in the area will be affected by smoke, including motorists on the Cunningham Highway, which will reduce visibility and air quality.

Call Triple Zero (000) immediately if you believe your property is under threat.

PREPARE TO LEAVE: Tarome bushfire as at 8am Wed 13 November

13th November 2019 8:00 AM

Bushfire warning level: WATCH AND ACT

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) advises there is a bushfire in Tarome and conditions could get worse.

You need to be ready to follow your bushfire survival plan. If you do not have a plan, or intend to leave, you should be ready to leave the area because the situation could get worse quickly.

Currently as at 8am Wednesday, 13 November, a fire is continuing to travel in a north-easterly direction in the vicinity of Merlehan Road, Tarome Road and Logan Lane. The fire is not directly impacting properties, however this could change quickly and those who haven't already left, should be ready to leave.

Firefighters are working to contain the blaze with the assistance of waterbombing aircraft and machinery.

Firefighters may not be able to protect every property. You should not expect a firefighter at your door.

A place of refuge for horses is open at Boonah Showgrounds, 8 Melbourne Street.

People in the area will be affected by smoke, which will reduce visibility and air quality.

Call Triple Zero (000) immediately if you believe your property is under threat.

LEAVE NOW: Spicers Peak Lodge (part of Clumber fire) bushfire as at 6.40am Wed 13 Nov

13th November 2019 6:40 AM

Bushfire warning level: WATCH AND ACT

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) advises there is a bushfire near Spicers Peak Lodge and conditions are getting worse.

Follow your bushfire survival plan now. If you do not have a plan, your safest option is to leave now if it is clear to do so. If you are not in the area, do not return, as conditions are too dangerous.

Currently as at 6.40am Wednesday, 13 November, a bushfire burning near Spicers Gap is travelling in a south-westerly direction from Spicers Gap towards Spicers Peak Lodge. The fire is likely to have an impact on Spicers Peak Lodge.

Residents should leave via Wilkinson Road.

Residents are reminded the Cunningham Highway is currently closed at Cunningham Gap due to this fire.

There is a separate warning for Mount Alphen and Double Top and residents should refer to that warning to determine what action they should take.

Firefighters may not be able to protect every property. You should not expect a firefighter at your door. Power, water, and mobile phone service may be lost.

People in the area will be affected by smoke, which will reduce visibility and air quality.

Call Triple Zero (000) immediately if you believe you are under threat.


Mayor says short-stay reforms ‘won’t rock economy’

premium_icon Mayor says short-stay reforms ‘won’t rock economy’

Mayor answers short-stay critic who happens to be standing against him.

Christmas fireworks cancelled in Cooroy

Christmas fireworks cancelled in Cooroy

Cooroy cancels fireworks in light of the total fire ban.

Catch 22 taking tourists out deep sea fishing

premium_icon Catch 22 taking tourists out deep sea fishing

Call of the ocean couldn’t be ignored by third generation fisherman.