Farmer Tommy Meaney was about to order a beer at the Gungellan Hotel in Freeling when someone warned him to look outside.

Large plumes of smoke said it all – a grass and stubble fire had engulfed the Horrocks Highway at Templers.

More than 200 firefighters were sent when it broke out just before 1pm Friday – and Mr Meaney left the pub to join the fight with a water tank on the back of his ute.