WATCH: How brigades contained summer fire danger
A BUSHFIRE that ripped along the edge of the Bruce Highway has signalled the start of Mackay's fire season.
Rural Fire Service area director Andrew Houley said the narrow fire, which downed powerlines, burnt 1000 hectares of land and "drowned" the seaside town of Clairview in smoke, was caused by a roadside ignition on Friday morning.
Mr Houley said low humidity and dry conditions meant fires were becoming more common in the region.
"The spark that usually extinguishes in the air is hitting the ground and causing us grief," he said.
Mr Houley said crews had to travel for more than an hour as resources around Clairview were thin on the ground.
"There's nothing else," he said.
"Clairview and St Lawrence really do sit alone."
He said Habana and Grasstree Beach crews were called to the seaside town.
"That's a fair commitment, it's a fair drive," he said.
Because of the high fire risk this week, Mr Houley said he did not call in closer brigades as that would leave their own communities exposed.
He said crews contained the Clairview fire by Friday evening, with patrols continuing over the weekend.
This was the second major fire of the season, following a 2400ha blaze in Mia Mia, 45km west of Mackay, on Tuesday evening.
Mr Houley said the window was closing on the cool burn season, with crews hoping to light the final preventive fires this weekend.
"Traditionally, the last moon rise in August … is really the last night for a cool night with heavy dews," Mr Houley said.
Wet weather and poor conditions meant many controlled burns were delayed, but Mr Houley said most crucial burns had gone ahead.
Earlier this month, Midge Point rural fireys and Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy officers cleared a dangerous patch of scrub surrounding a camping and fishing ground at Jimmys Rock Rd.
Midge Point brigade member Thomas Brown said a wildfire tore through a section of the scrub during the horror fire season in October 2019.
Mr Brown said crews spent a day fighting flames which were as tall as the Eucalyptus trees under catastrophic fire conditions.
"Fire creates its own weather," he said.
Mr Brown said this year's preventive burn was an important step to protect his community in the lead up to the fire season.