Residents reveal how fire spread at Rosenthal Heights
FIREFIGHTERS battled to keep flames from engulfing homes at Rosenthal Heights this afternoon after a burst tyre is likely to have sparked a grass fire that quickly spread east.
Warwick resident Melinda Gale said about 1pm she looked out the window and noticed a fire by the side of the highway.
Mrs Gale called 000 immediately.
"As I was talking to them I was watching the fire move across the road," she said.
"The operator asked if it was moving fast, and I said, 'Well, yes, because in the time you've taken to ask me all these questions it's now started to threaten properties.'
"I told them there is a house down there and they needed to get here now."
According to Mrs Gale, it was another 15 minutes before she heard the sirens and saw the crews arrive on scene.
Former firefighter Max Rathmell said he spotted a car with a blown tyre by the side of the road and says this could have been the source of the fire.
"You can see skid marks in the bitumen and that's put sparks into the table drain, and that's where the fires take off from. When I came back past the vehicle the front wheel was on fire and there's some real heavy smoke up at my place now, so I'd be amazed if the car wasn't on fire by now."
Mrs Gale said she, too, spotted the car at the site of the fire.
The fire was a "really bad" one, according to Mr Rathmell, who explained that Morgan Park would be in trouble if the fire crossed the break lines at the railway track.
After half an hour the flames were reported to be over 6m high and spreading to the treetops.
The New England Highway was closed in both directions after cars were seen driving through the heavy smoke.
According to the Queensland Rural Fire Service, 12 fire crews attended the scene, working from the back of the fire and up around the flanks to contain it.
Three helicopters circled the fire, with two regularly flying back to Leslie Dam to retrieve water to bomb the fire.
Water bombing fast contained lines near threatened properties, stopping the flames as they travelled dangerously close to homes.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services advised the fire was burning near Rosenthal Rd, Kingsleigh Rd and the New England Highway but posed no further threat to property.