Last month a large fire started in the Bribie Island National Park, causing campgrounds to be closed and a devastating loss of national wildlife primarily due to smoke inhalation.
Investigations are still underway as to the cause of the fire and as of September 2nd small areas of the National Park were still on fire.
The following statement was issued by the Department of Environment and Science (DES) when contacted for comment on September 2nd:
“The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) contained the fires in the northern section of Bribie Island and in the Noosa and Tewantin National Parks last week.
“The Bribie Island fire was first observed in the northern section of the island, and it continued to burn in a southerly direction on the eastern side of the island, before being contained within the ‘Eastern Boundary’ track.
“The total burnt area of this fire was approximately 2400ha. QPWS will continue to monitor the fire to keep it contained, with the assistance of HQ Plantations.
“The cause of the fire is being investigated.
“DES will conduct an assessment of the impact to protected areas and native species.
“If crews locate any injured wildlife, they will arrange for care by a veterinarian or wildlife carer.”
Many among the local community were shocked by the bushfire and are anxiously awaiting the results of the investigation into its cause.
Moreton Bay Regional Council Member for Division 1, Brooke Savige said “The significant loss of our precious flora and fauna is disappointing for all of us. I thank the firefighters and the team from HQ plantations who worked as hard as they could in challenging situations to manage this fire.”
A spokesperson for the Bribie Island Environmental Protection Association (BIEPA) said “BIEPA is of course extremely shocked and saddened by the suffering and huge loss of life amongst wildlife in the area, and the destruction of such an expanse of National Park vegetation.”
“We do, however, appreciate the efforts of firefighters to contain and extinguish the blaze in very difficult conditions.
“We understand that an enquiry is being held into the circumstances of this devastating fire. We trust that this is indeed the case and that measures will then be taken to reduce the risk of this happening again, at the start of what threatens to be a dangerous bushfire season.”
Simone Wilson MP, State Member for Pumicestone, expressed concern over the recent bushfire as she said Bribie Island is incredibly vulnerable when fires get out of control.
“Not only is there a risk for residents who live on the Island, our precious wildlife can be destroyed as we saw in these recent fires”, Ms Wilson said.
“These types of situations can escalate very quickly and it is a major concern to me that we have a one lane exit off the Island if we had to evacuate.
“I immediately contacted the Minister for Environment when I became aware of the recent fire and asked for a full briefing.”
“It is an absolute tragedy that this uncontrolled fire engulfed the Northern section of Bribie Island and resulted in the demise of many of our Native Flora and Fauna,” Ms Wilson said.
“I have called on the Minister to fully investigate this fire and made it clear that I want a copy of any report on the incident.
“Our local and rural fire brigades are to be commended for their work in containing this fire.”
Ms Wilson has been keeping the community updated, via her Facebook page, with whatever information she receives. This includes updates on the enquiry into the cause of the fire, fire safety, as well as recreation area access for the National Park.
On September 9th the DES Parks and Forests Park Alerts for Bribie Island National Park and Recreation Area read the following “Campsites 2 to 10 in the Ocean Beach camping area will open from Wednesday 11 September 2019. Fire has re-ignited in the vicinity of campsites 11 to 64 forcing their closure until Friday 20 September. QPWS is monitoring the situation and will open the remaining campsites when safe.
The Northern access track from Poverty Creek turnoff north to Fort Bribie day-use area remains closed until further notice.
Visitors should exercise caution at all times when travelling in the northern part of the island. Observe all signage, barriers and directions from rangers and do not enter closed areas.”
For further updates on Bribie Island Recreation Area access please visit the park alert page: https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/park-alerts/17171.html
At the time of going to press multiple bushfires are burning across Queensland, requiring fire fighters to join forces to assist with combating the large number of fires that have already caused a significant amount of loss.
*Wildlife Rescue Queensland was contacted for comment but has not yet responded*