By CAITLIN CROWLEY
WESTERN Downs police are treating a huge bushfire burning out of control at Weir River near Moonie as suspicious and are urging anyone with information to come forward.
As of Friday morning (March 3) the enormous blaze had ripped through around 15,000 hectares of bushland and was expected to keep spreading south throughout the day.
Reinforcements have been called in to join local fire crews, with 39 crews from outside the South West region already on the ground and another 48 on their way.
Queensland Parks and Wildlife (QPWS) and the state’s Agriculture department (DAF) also joined fire fighting efforts yesterday, deploying around 40 staff both on the front lines and in planning and support roles, after the fires entered state forests from Cecil Plains Road early Wednesday (March 1).
QPWS and DAF are using their heavy machinery including bulldozers, trucks and skidders to build containment lines, while six water-bombing aircraft and fire spotting planes are being used to attack the flames from above.
The Moonie Highway is expected to remain closed today with heavy smoke in the area reducing visibility.
A Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) spokesperson told the Caller it could take up to a week to bring the fire under control and that storms forecast for the region this weekend presented the additional risk of sparking spot fires and creating strong winds.
The police investigation into what sparked the monster blaze is ongoing and anyone who saw any suspicious behaviour in the Cecil Plains Road and Moonie Highway area on Tuesday, February 28, between 7:20pm and 9:00pm are asked to contact police.
Police are continuing to conduct proactive patrols in the area and urge anyone who witnesses suspicious behaviour to come forward.
Residents in the area are advised to check the latest warning advice via the QFES website.