The fire department has issued an emergency alert to those who are still at one of the most popular destinations on the east coast of Fraser Island as they continue to fight bushfires for nearly two months.
The Happy Valley area, about halfway along the east coast of the World Heritage Island, was put under the « Leave immediately » warning on Sunday afternoon.
The Queensland Fire and Rescue Services said the major fire front is moving southeast and is expected to hit the community by 4 p.m.. It urged people to head south to Eurong along the east beach if it was safe to do so.
« Exiting immediately is the safest option as it will soon be too dangerous to drive, » was the warning. « Electricity, water and cell phone services can all be lost and road conditions can become very dangerous in the next few hours.
« If you can’t go, indicate where to take shelter from the bushfire. If you’re not around, don’t go back . . . Fire can pose a threat to all life directly on its path. «
The flames hit the island after the fire started on Nov.. October further devastated. Credit: Queensland Fire and Emergency Services
After a respite late last week allowed the crews to largely contain the three fires burning on the island, including the Kingfisher Bay Resort and Village to the west, the move of one toward Happy Valley was feared by authorities as conditions worsened over the weekend.
Almost 100 employees from QFES, Queensland Parks and Wildlife and the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation are involved in the effort on the world’s largest sand island.
They were assisted by more than a dozen depth charges that dumped more than 3 million liters of water and delay gel onto the often remote and inaccessible terrain.
Concerns have been raised about the possible long-term effects on the island’s isolated and unique ecosystem – including mature rainforests and endangered species – and an independent investigation has been requested.
The Department of the Environment, which is located overseas in Queensland Parks and Wildlife, said the fire broke on Jan.. Started October as a result of an illegal and poorly extinguished campfire.
Staff responded as soon as the fire was reported, but its remote and inaccessible location made containment difficult, he added.
The island was founded on Jan.. Closed to newcomers until further notice as of November as fires threatened infrastructure and QFES took over managing the response from several agencies.
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Fraser Island, Australia Bushfire, Kingfisher Bay Resort
World News – AU – « A Threat to All Lives »: Emergency Bushfire Warning on Fraser Island’s East Coast
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