A fire on Fraser Island (K’gari) has currently burnt through 72,000 hectares of land and is now being watched as the heatwave and high winds are expected to hit over the weekend.
Firefighters, alongside the Butchulla Aboriginal Corp, are continuing their efforts against the blaze despite the weather conditions worsening. Currently, the fire has presented no threat to the people or the wildlife who call Fraser Island home.
According to the ABC, the blaze began from an illegal campfire which was lit on October 15, and grew completely out of control.
Firefighting efforts are continuing on Fraser Island (K’gari) today but backburning has been hampered by stronger than anticipated winds. We’re working alongside @QldFES & the Butchulla Aboriginal Corp to prepare for more difficult conditions over the afternoon & into the weekend pic.twitter.com/vMX3o2wqrm
— Qld Park Alerts (@QldParkAlerts) November 26, 2020
“At this stage, there is no threat to communities, but having more people on the island creates more of a challenge for firefighting operations,” Rural Fire Service Director Michael Koch told the ABC.
Despite waterbombing efforts from firefighting teams, there hasn’t been much luck in efforts to control the blaze. Dense vegetation and grains of sand throughout the soil have reportedly made the Fraser Island fires difficult to tackle with usual methods.
According to the ABC, there are currently 15 different teams that have been sent out to fight the blaze, which contain a mixture of Butchulla Aboriginal Corp Rangers, Wildlife Rangers and Queensland firefighters.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Greg Leach told the ABC that they are currently mapping out the fires so as to attempt to control them.
“We’ve sent in a team of specialist fire behaviour analysts and mapping crews today,” he said.
“The fire is being driven by northerly winds in the afternoon which pick up and drive that fire southward and then late in the afternoon we will get a south-easterly coastal sea breeze and it tends to push the fire back on itself.”
According to Leach, the wildlife are currently escaping from the blaze.
“We do know from talking to firefighters that a lot of the wildlife is escaping ahead of the fire into the southern part of the island,” he said.
“The fire is fairly slow-moving at the moment so wildlife does have an opportunity to get out of its way.”
As we all know, a wild heatwave is heading for Australia over this coming weekend, so naturally, folks on Fraser Island will be preparing for its impact.
Here’s hoping that the blaze doesn’t spread any further than it already has.