A sustainable forestry plantation northeast of Toowoomba, designed to become a future source of power poles for Ergon Energy, narrowly escaped disaster when bushfires ripped through the region this week.
Sustainable Pole Farm Manager David Wood said the quick response to the fire when it threatened the 1300ha forest called Eagle Rock, near Ravensbourne, prevented future power poles worth millions of dollars from going up in smoke.
Mr Wood said the risk was quickly recognised when a fire was detected within a kilometre of the property on Sunday morning and his team began back-burning that afternoon.
“Unfortunately, we could not completely contain the fire and lost about 88ha on the first night, but I am confident the trees in this section will bounce back. Their gallant efforts to grade containment lines and carry our back-burns long into the night and to bravely guard the property through the week almost certainly prevented a catastrophic loss of trees,” he said.
In total, the operation included 12.4km of back-burning in extremely challenging conditions, 15.8km of graded fire breaks and 1.6km of dozed breaks. Mr Wood doubts the property could have been saved without the preventative hazard reduction program over the past three years, and a good network of fire trails.
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