Tamborine Mountain schoolteacher Peter Bose went above and beyond in helping firefighters protect the Kooralbyn township from a bushfire that has been raging between Allandale and Kooralbyn since Sunday, October 11.
Mr Bose's family owns a property known as The Compound on Brooks Drive, earmarked for a business providing testing facilities for off-road 4WD racing competitors. The business stalled when COVID-19 hit and although most of the land has been damaged by fire, Mr Bose jumped in to help protect the community.
He received a call on Monday night from Kooralbyn fire warden Adrian Brinkworth asking for assistance as firefighters needed to cross his property to set up containment lines to keep the blaze away from Kooralbyn township.
"He called about 10pm and asked if I could get to Kooralbyn," Mr Bose said. "I said I would head over first thing in the morning but I could tell it was more urgent than that."
Mr Bose left immediately, accompanied by his brother-in-law and business partner Daniel Harding and got straight to work, helping carve an access road for firefighters through the property with a Bobcat.
He said about 800 metres of his property bordered land owned by The Kooralbyn Valley resort which would have been even more difficult to access.
"The trucks needed to get through to where containment lines needed to be," Mr Bose said.
"None of the rural guys were locals and when it got dark they couldn't see where they were going, I had hi-viz gear on so I walked the trail (to lead vehicles) from Kooralbyn lookout down to Sandy Creek," he said.
The teacher took two days off work to help firefighters, who said his preparation of his own property and his knowledge of the terrain had proved invaluable. Rural Fire Service incident controller Kaye Healing the containment lines firefighters were able to establish thanks to Mr Bose's efforts had been crucial.
"He had done so much preparation and made it so easy for firefighters, who are extraordinary people but not miracle workers," she said.
"It's important to engage with the people who have local knowledge and because of this we have managed to keep the fire out in the paddock and protect the town."
The first responders at the scene were local auxilliary firefighters led by Dylan Chidgey, who said Mr Bose deserved recognition for his actions.
"He opened his home and all the facilities at his property for a staging area," he said. "He bulldozed fresh tracks so we had better access and not just on his own land."
Mr Bose said he did not consider himself a hero.
"I just saw what needed to be done and I did it," he said. "It was the right thing to do."
Mr Bose and Mr Harding are wondering how to recover from the disaster, with almost 81 hectares of their property now burnt out.
"We have had heaps of offers from friends and family to come and help out but unfortunately we can't have anyone out here right now because it's just too dangerous," he said.
"The number of trees that are down is incredible and they are still dropping."
Just over 20 hectares had been left untouched to provide a natural corridor for wildlife.
"There have been a lot of wallabies coming up to the dam. It's a safe spot for them to be," Mr Bose said.
The business partners have an old clunker of a dozer and a Bobcat but Mr Harding said they would need better equipment to repair the damage.
"We need a D6-size dozer to do some work on the existing fire breaks around the property if anyone could help out," he said.
"Some RFS units struggled to get up some of the hills fully loaded and damaged some of the fire trails we have on site.
"Our dozer is not large enough to push the dirt and rock required to level the tracks for easier future RFS access.
"It would only be about four or five hours' work so if anyone could help out any way possible would be greatly appreciated and we could cover fuel costs."
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