SMOKE BREAK: Jacinta and David Atherden’s wedding was delayed for a couple of hours when they were evacuated from the Branell Homestead to a nearby dam when bushfires got too close for comfort in Laidley.
SMOKE BREAK: Jacinta and David Atherden’s wedding was delayed for a couple of hours when they were evacuated from the Branell Homestead to a nearby dam when bushfires got too close for comfort in Laidley.

Hazy shade of Sunday

A WEEKEND of hot weather and heat-generated fires in and around Ipswich caused widespread havoc but it didn't deter a couple from exchanging vows - even after flames had closed in on their special day.

A smoky haze filled the Ipswich sky as soaring temperatures fuelled widespread grass fires.

Fire crews battled to contain fires at Laidley and Redbank Plains yesterday afternoon and police were forced to close Redbank Plains Rd.

As fire raged around them, Jacinta and David Atherden were waiting for 100 guests to arrive for their wedding at Branell Homestead on Paroz Rd in Laidley on Saturday.

As the ceremony was ready to begin, the danger became too great and fire crews evacuated the wedding party from the homestead to a dam.

Mrs Atherden, a midwife at Ipswich Hospital, said the celebrations were adjourned for a few hours of drinks by the dam while they waited for the danger to pass. "We were evacuated at 3.30pm, just when I was supposed to be walking down the aisle," she said.

The ceremony was delayed until 5.45pm, when fire crews gave the all clear.

She said the smoky atmosphere and a setting sun made for some picturesque wedding photos. Even the firefighters joined in.

"Absolutely, I wouldn't have changed it for the world. I got a wedding that everyone will remember," she said.

Branell Homestead owner Cathy Brady said it was a very hot and windy day and the grass fires came a little to close for comfort.

"We always keep the grass low, particularly around the homestead," she said.

The grass fire continued to burn on Summerholm Rd and Mountain Rd overnight.

Crews kept the fire within containment lines and firefighters conducted backburning throughout the day.

Twenty Queensland Fire and Rescue and rural fire crews battled the blaze on Redbank Plains Rd but no homes were reported to be under threat.

A QFRS spokesman said crews began to fight the grass fire at 7am and the road was closed about 2pm. It was declared under control about 5.30pm.

Firefighters conducting backburning throughout the afternoon created large volumes of smoke.

Crews were expected to remain at the scene overnight.



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