SMOKED THAT FIRE: Rural firey Brett Nagel battles the blaze at Spicers Gap Rd. Picture: Annette Dew.
SMOKED THAT FIRE: Rural firey Brett Nagel battles the blaze at Spicers Gap Rd. Picture: Annette Dew.

The struggle to save Spicers Peak Lodge

BRAVE local firefighters saved Spicers Peak Lodge from bushfire during nightmare weather conditions today.

Fire burned dangerously across Spicers Rd containment lines in the early hours of Wednesday morning causing Queensland Fire and Emergency Services to issue an evacuation order for residents in the surrounding areas.

Guests and staff from the lodge began to enact their emergency procedures more than 48 hours prior, according to Spicers Retreats managing director David Assef.

“It’s people that are our priority,” Mr Assef said.

“Ultimately we know buildings can be replaced.”

Staff living in nearby areas returned home, while emergency accommodation was sourced for others.

Just one caretaker remained on site, armed with water and pumps to defend the property.

Despite the dire warnings, Mr Assef said he remained quietly optimistic.

“Being a remote property we have pretty robust plans and procedures,” he said.

“We’ve ensured all our systems are working, we’ve watered down the area around the lodges and swept through the escarpment.”

As the day wore on, fire crews pushed the fire back into containment lines, using bulldozers to re-establish control.

The fire danger warning was downgraded from ‘Leave immediately’ to ‘Watch and act’, allowing residents to return on the advice of police on the ground.

“There is still a risk it could turn around on us and cause trouble,” said QFES public information officer Matthew Mulroney.

“In that area we’re expecting more west, south-westerly winds so we don’t predict further impact on Spicers Lodge at this stage.”

The lodge may have been spared, but Mr Assef said staff were heartbroken by the damage done to the surrounding area.

“We put a lot of time and effort into the preservation of this area and to see it hit by these catastrophic conditions is devastating,” Mr Assef said.

The Clumber fire is not expected to abate any time soon.

“Conditions are pretty hairy out there and they’re not going to improve until we get rain,” Mr Mulroney said.