BUSHFIRES continued to ravage the Atherton Tablelands last week as firefighters battled significant blazes in Mutchilba, Irvinebank, Mareeba and Biboohra.
The Mutchilba and Irvinebank fires were of particular concern to Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES) crews, with water bombing operations being carried out to contain the critical conditions. QFES Incident Controller Steve Tognolini said they’re unable to determine how long each individual fire will burn for as weather conditions may change.
“We have a number of fires we are monitoring closely, but it’s the fire out near Mutchilba that has required multiple crews on scene to ensure it is contained,” he said.
“Several crews are working around the clock on the Tablelands including the QFES, Rural Fire Service Queensland, and the Department of Natural Resources and Mines who are conducting back burns in the area.
“In addition, the water bombing operations carried out in Mutchilba and Irvinebank will be moved to Tinaroo Creek Road to ensure that blaze doesn’t pose a threat to properties in the area over the coming days.
“We are simply taking it each day at a time, as every time we seem to control one fire another one pops up.”
It is not only a calamity being felt on the Tablelands, with more than 50 fires wreaking havoc across the state resulting in the loss of 17 homes and a further 67 that have been damaged. That has raised suspicions amongst emergency response teams as to whether a number of the fires across the state have been deliberately lit.
Inspector Tognolini said there are currently investigations being undertaken as it relates to the bushfires that have occurred on the Tablelands.
“We’re still working to determine the cause of the fires experienced here on the Tablelands,” he said.
“If it is determined that some of the fires have been deliberately or recklessly lit, we’ll pursue that in conjunction with the Queensland Police Service (QPS).”
Inspector Tognolini said he would like to thank employers for releasing their staff.
“Whether they’re volunteers on the Rural Fire Service or auxiliary staff, without the generosity from employers, we’d really be struggling – so we are extremely thankful for their help,” he said.
“I also want to thank the volunteers, their assistance has been integral.”
With a high fire danger warning currently across North Queensland and a tough fire season forecasted for the region, you can keep up to date with bushfire information by visiting www.qfes.qld.gov.au