Home saved from bush blaze
SMOKE still lingers around the home of Alison and Doug Bradford - a stark reminder of just how close a bushfire came to destroying their home earlier this month.
The bushfire is believed to have started from a lightning strike in Conway National Park about October 17, but pushed toward the Conway Beach township earlier this month.
Allan Road residents, Mr and Mrs Bradford had watched the blaze approach and knowing it couldn't be far off, began to dampen down the road in front of their home.
Mr Bradford said he could hear the roar of the fire as it drew nearer, but a sudden wind change pointed the flames in their direction.
"At the moment the wind swung around, whether it was a natural change or something the fire created, it started blowing from the north and the fire leapt up in all the dry grass and bush. It just went up,” he said.
"Then someone yelled 'there's spot fires everywhere!'”
The blaze crept up the Bradfords' driveway, charring their recently landscaped garden.
Within the space of two hours, their home was surrounded by burning vegetation as 10m trees on either side went up in flames.
The Bradfords have lived in their Conway home for five years and experienced numerous cyclones, including Debbie.
Mrs Bradford said the Conway bushfire was much worse.
"For me this bushfire was way way scarier than Cyclone Debbie. There was intense heat. You couldn't see anything. The smoke was so thick you couldn't even see where the fire was burning,” she said.
"It took off really fast. We had grass trees between us and the road. If that had caught fire, it's highly likely we would have lost the house.”
Having escalated so quickly, the house had been left open and burning debris blew into it
Mr Bradford heard his wife screaming: "The house! The house!” Instantly, he thought it was all over.
"I thought 'this is it. It's going up.' It just seemed like it was out of control. Even though there were so many firefighters there, it was just like nothing could stop it.”
Luckily, Mrs Bradford managed to stamp out the alight debris in the house before it could take hold.
At one stage, 30 members of Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service were working to contain the fire and wet vegetation surrounding the Bradfords' home.
The Bradfords praised the firefighters who fought tirelessly to save homes along Allan Road. "Without the firefighters here and everybody helping us, we could have easily lost our house,” Mrs Bradford said.
But it's far from over for the resilient couple who are still walking on eggshells following the bushfire.
"The other day I was cooking breakfast and the bacon splattered and popped. I nearly jumped through the roof,” Mr Bradford said.
"It's even something as small as smelling a bit of smoke. I've been surprised by how jumpy I've been two weeks on. You don't quite appreciate the effect this kind of thing has on you.”