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    The Honourable Vicky Darling

    Moreton Island fire crews praised for efforts

    The Honourable Vicky Darling

    Friday, January 13, 2012

    Moreton Island fire crews praised for efforts

    Environment Minister Vicky Darling and Member for Redcliffe Lillian van Listenburg today visited Moreton Island to thank rangers for their efforts in fighting a wildfire that is still burning in the island’s north.

    Ms Darling and Ms van Listenburg also visited residents and inspected fire damage to vegetation on the island.

    Ms Darling said fire crews had worked day and night since January 4 to fight the fire, together putting in countless hours between them.

    “More than 50 Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) staff supported by Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) officers deserve a big pat on the back for their commitment to ensuring people and property have not been threatened,” Ms Darling said.

    “Queensland Police and State Emergency Service officers have also provided invaluable support.

    “I would also like to thank holiday makers and residents for cooperating with the authorities during the fire.

    “We ask campers and drivers to continue to follow official signage and directions and to be aware of the danger of unstable trees that have been burned in the fire.”

    The blaze started from a vehicle fire and has since burned through about 4500 hectares of swamp and forest vegetation, or about 24 per cent of the sand island.

    During her visit, Ms Darling was briefed on the latest situation by QPWS.

    QPWS Moreton Bay Operations Manager Andrew Hoffman said fire activity was currently fairly minor and that predominantly easterly winds expected today should result in less activity than in previous days.

    “All campers, the island’s townships and Tangalooma Resort are all considered secure,” Mr Hoffman said.

    “The fire is currently burning north of the Bulwer - Blue Lagoon Rd.

    “Contingency plans have been developed to protect infrastructure at Cape Moreton and North Point campground should it come under threat.

    “All campers have now been moved from the northern end of the island to suitable locations as a precaution only.

    “The Bulwer - Blue Lagoon road, Five Hills road and the eastern beach north of Middle road are currently closed.”

    Ms van Listenburg praised locals for staying safe and cooperating with fire crews and police during the blaze.

    “The past several days have been distressing for many residents and I admire the community’s resilience,” Ms van Listenburg said.

    Ms van Listenburg thanked rangers for taking sensible steps to prepare the island for this year’s fire season.

    “Crews undertook a substantial fuel reduction burn program six months ago along tracks to decrease fuel loads,” she said.

    “This program, along with back-burning around the towns after the fire started, has helped the crews to contain the blaze, which has helped ensure people and property are safe, and we have had no reports of injured wildlife.”

    Ms Darling said she expected swamp and forest vegetation burned in the fire to grow back quickly.

    “It is important to remember that these coastal environments are fire-adapted.

    “No intervention is required for the vegetation to come back – once we get some rain, the new shoots will appear.”

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