Keilira fire destroys three properties and kills livestock

A bushfire located at Keilira has destroyed at least three properties, along with killing thousands of livestock and burning a large area of land.

The fire was started by dry lightning on Monday morning and has since burned more than 24,000 hectares with a total perimeter of 76.24km.

Member for MacKillop Nick McBride said the fire has gutted the area and has destroyed at least three properties, with only one of them being occupied.

"From my understanding, three properties have been destroyed, with one being occupied and the other two being unused farm houses," Mr McBride said.

Phil Clarke, a highly respected resident from the area, lost his property near Bin Bin on Tuesday.

Mr Clarke spent Monday fighting the fire at its ignition point, when a change in wind direction put his wife, Anthea, and their home at risk.

The sudden change resulted in him frantically trying to contact her via radio to tell her to grab what she could and leave immediately.

Fortunately, no one was injured in the blaze, but their home of more than 18 years was destroyed, along with countless other possessions.

Mr McBride said the fire destroyed approximately 800 bales of hay, close to 40km of fence-line, 300-400 cattle and up to 10,000 sheep.

"No one has been able to count each of the sheep individually, but from my understanding the toll ranges from 2,000-10,000 sheep," Mr McBride said.

He also said potentially 95 per cent of property on the northern side of Keilira burned out due to the wind changing from a northerly direction to a westerly, resulting in the fire blowing to the east.

Farmers had moved their livestock out of the way of the fire as it burned in a southerly direction near Taratap.

The change saw the fire head east, towards Padthaway, which resulted in the area where stock was being protected to being ravaged by the flames.

Mr McBride mentioned the fire had destroyed a landline service, leaving residents with limited options when it comes to communication.

Lack of quality phone service in the area has been a talking point for years, and in times of emergency poor service could potentially be the difference between life of death.

Mr McBride said he has been a strong advocate for improved phone service in the area, but does concede it is hard to cover every part of MacKillop.

"There are a number of 'black spots' in the area - I have advocated in the past for the installation of five new towers in MacKillop," Mr McBride said.

"It would be hard to cover everywhere, but there is definitely room for improvement."

Incident controller at the Keilira bushfire, Richard De Groot, said firefighters should be applauded for their ability to save countless properties.

"What I can say is yesterday the firefighters made some excellent saves, I understand over 20 properties were being impacted on and as a result of our firefighters they were protected or saved," Mr De Groot said.

An Advice message remains in place for residents around the Keilira locality, just west of Padthaway.

This story Keilira fire destroys three properties and kills livestock first appeared on Border Chronicle.