Crews continue to battle a “significant fire” burning on Fraser Island off South-East Queensland for more than six weeks, while more than 350 campers are told to limit their movements…
Crews are continuing to battle a “significant fire” that has been burning on Fraser Island off south-east Queensland for more than six weeks, while more than 350 campers are told to limit their movements as weather conditions worsen.
- The bushfire started from an illegal campfire on October 15
- There are currently 362 people on the island and the tourist hotspot remains closed to new visitors
- No campers on the island are currently at risk, but smoke from the fire may be uncomfortable
The blaze, which is burning on two fronts, north of Kingfisher Bay Resort and west of Cathedrals, has already ripped through 74,000 hectares of land on the World Heritage-listed island since starting from an illegal campfire on October 15.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Commissioner Greg Leach said the fire was expected to be influenced by deteriorating weather on Sunday.
“By high temperatures in the low 30s … but more importantly by a strong northerly wind which will potentially drive the fire in a southerly direction,” he said.
Mr Leach said crews had tried to get the upper hand on the blaze over the last few days.
“To this point, we haven’t been successful at that — we will continue to try and contain this fire over coming days,” he said.
Incident controller Superintendent James Haig said Sunday’s conditions had been “as we predicted and prepared for”.
Meanwhile, advice for a fire burning in Nundubbermere, south-west of Stanthorpe, has been downgraded to prepare to leave after earlier being upgraded to watch and act.
QFES said fire crews were “starting to get the upper hand” as they battled the blaze near Winkler Road as conditioned cooled Sunday evening.
Island remains closed to new visitors
The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) confirmed there were currently 362 people on the island and the tourist hotspot was still closed to new visitors.
QPWS senior ranger Scott Brook said no campers on the island were currently at risk, but smoke from the fire may be “uncomfortable”.
“Areas that would be influenced by fire front have been swept numerous times and roads that might lead people into danger have been closed,” he said.
Kingfisher Bay Resort to close
Meanwhile, a letter received by a guest staying at the Kingfisher Bay Resort said it would close from Monday.
The letter said as fire authorities had restricted new arrivals to Fraser Island, the resort had decided to take “precautionary action” and close to guests from 10:30am on Monday, November 30, until December 14.
“Rest assured that this is not an evacuation, and our team will work closely with guests, to assist with all travel amendments,” the letter said.
“Until the time of your departure, we request that guests remain within the resort grounds, as access to the inland tracks are closed.
“Guided tours have also been postponed until further notice.”
The letter said it had made “extensive preparations to ensure the safety of guests and team members” should the fire approach the resort.
“These preparations include having firefighting units based at the resort to ensure that any event is dealt with quickly and effectively,” the letter said.
The letter said there would be additional ferry services departing the resort on Monday.
When the ABC contacted the resort about the letter, a spokesperson said it was not making any comment at this stage.
The resort has since posted about the closure on its Facebook page.
Smoke haze moves south
Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) senior meteorologist Peter Markworth said smoke from the fire had begun moving south.
“That smoke, in particular, could reach down towards the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane city,” he said.
“We’ve seen a little bit of haze around the city today.”
Mr Markworth said the climbing temperatures over the next few days would “enhance” the blaze.
We’re just expecting persistent northerlies with a very slight and temporary wind change to the east.”