A wild fire is now burning out of control on the ridges behind Picnic Bay and the west side of the Island. According to Captain Mick Tamblyn, from Magnetic Island's Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, “Once a fire is up in the hills there's not a great amount we can do about it. A lot will depend on the wind. We'll just have to monitor it and back-burn if necessary”.
At this stage no houses are at risk, although yesterday firefighters had to back burn near a property at Ned Lees Creek to protect a dwelling.
The fire began on Monday afternoon on land between the golf club and the sewerage treatment plant and authorities suspect that it was deliberately lit. “Two car wrecks were burnt however the fire probably started in bushland near the cars”. said Mick Tamblyn.
A burnt out car wreck between the golf club and the sewerage treatment plant
The fire then flared up again on Tuesday afternoon when approximately 20 firefighters (from the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, volunteer firefighters from the Horseshoe Bay Rural Fire Brigade and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers) responded. “Initially the fire jumped the containment lines near the Cockle Bay road” said Mick Tamblyn.
The bush after burning
The fire then turned into three fires and the West Point Road was closed to traffic due to smoke.
Firefighters battled the blazes until after midnight.
Firefighters continued to fight the fires today and have also done some back burning to try and minimise their damage. If the fires gets too big for the Island crews, Townsville brigades, (although already stretched due to mainland fires) will be called in to assist.
It's important that Magnetic Islanders (particularly those living on rural properties) prepare for the threat of a bush fire near their home. This includes cleaning out gutters of leaves, reducing the fuel load around your property etc. Click this link for information: http://www.fire.qld.gov.au/communitysafety/bushfire/default.asp
As this story goes to the “web” readers from Townsville have told magnetictimes.com that there appear to be at least five separate fires that they can see burning on the West side of the Island. With the windy conditions that we are currently experiencing it's hoped that the prescribed burns done by QPWS rangers earlier in the year help keep the fire's progress to a minimum.
Story: Pen Sheridan
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Magnetic Island on fire
Thank goodness for the rain! I sure put it out for rain whilst watching the fires climb higher and further...as did many others no doubt. Gratitude for small mercies(;