A fast-moving grass fire near Cooyar on Monday prompted authorities to advise residents to leave the area (Photo: TRC)

October 17, 2023

Toowoomba Regional Council and the QFES are inviting Cooyar residents to a community meeting on Wednesday night (October 18) to hear the latest updates on the downgraded Wutul and East Cooyar fires.

On Monday, a fast-moving grass fire fanned by blustery winds led QFES to issue a Leave Immediately order shortly after 4:00pm for properties along the New England Highway near East Cooyar Road, Fitzgerald Road, Dukes Road, Saads Road and Garskes Road.

QFES crews were able to contain the blaze overnight, but the fire destroyed several structures including four sheds, a caravan, a bobcat and a shipping container.

Toowoomba Region Mayor and Local Disaster Management Group chair Cr Geoff McDonald said residents could get an update from QFES representatives from 5:00pm at Cooyar Hall.

Residents will hear how they can safeguard their families and property in the coming months, given weather forecasts for continuing hot and dry conditions.

“It is important for residents to be fully informed about the best fire precautions they can take and how they will respond in an emergency situation,” Mayor McDonald said.

He said authorities were urging residents and travellers to take extreme care around the Wutul and East Cooyar fire area, particularly on the roads, even with the warning level downgraded to the lowest status, Advice – stay informed, issued earlier on Tuesday.

Mayor McDonald said while the QFES had advised that the fire near Dukes Road was burning in containment lines, the situation was a reminder for residents to stay informed about changeable conditions.

“While conditions eased over Monday night, Council is maintaining a presence in the area with water tankers and other equipment to help fire authorities,” the Mayor said.

“Fire authorities have advised residents it is safe to return to their homes with caution, but there is a considerable smoke hazard on roads in the affected area.

“The speed limit has been reduced on the New England Highway given the smoke is affecting visibility.

“No properties are presently in danger, but it is imperative that residents stay informed about the latest conditions.

“Council’s Local Disaster Management Group is monitoring the situation and liaising with emergency services and will advise of any changes in conditions.”

There is a local fire ban in place for the Toowoomba Region as well as Southern Downs, Western Downs, Goondiwindi, Maranoa and Balonne local government areas.

A rural firefighter on duty at the East Cooyar bushfire on Tuesday (Photo: QFES)


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