Fire fight a team effort


North Stradbroke Island residents are advised to remain alert but not alarmed as the fight continues to keep control of a massive bushfire which has now burnt for eight days.

Conditions eased today allowing firefighters to make significant inroads in strengthening containment lines and a storm is heading across the bay to the region now.

Redland City Deputy Mayor and LocalDisaster Recovery Committee chair, CrAlan Beard, praised the multi-agency response to the emergency – an effort which involved emergency services from across Queensland, the local community as well as state and local government departments, utility providers and welfare organisations.

“The fact there was no loss of life or homes is testament to some extraordinary efforts from a vast number of people,” Cr Beard said.

“In fact many of the people involved in the firefighting effort have been to their own homes only briefly since the fire was sparked by lightning on the night of December 29.

“I am in awe of the way in which Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, Police, Rural Fire Service, the Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Energex, Seqwater, National Parks, SES, Red Cross, Council’s Conservation and Fire Management team and other Council staff have been prepared to set aside limitless time in order to deal with this situation.

“They have sacrificed so much to keep the residents of North Stradbroke Island both safe and constantly informed – their professional and measured response to this emergency has been truly remarkable.

“The North Stradbroke Island community, businesses and the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporationhave all played a significant role too … a real team effort.

“It’s clear all the emergency planning appears to have paid off – people are prepared and there has been no panic … just everyone pushing in the same direction.”

Cr Craig Ogilvie – whose Division 2 includes North Stradbroke Island – said the turning point in the battle was Friday night(January 3) when fire crews created a solid buffer between the blaze and the township of Dunwich.

“If they had not blackened the area near the township, things could have got a whole lot worse,” he said. “They really have done a marvellous job.”

Cr Beard said Council’s Disaster Management Plan – Part II of which was specifically tailored for the City’s most isolated residents and released in October – had proven to be a valuable resource for coordinating the firefighting effort.

“The Disaster Management Plan is a valuable emergency blueprint for the island communities and it recognises that each isunique and has specific needs in an emergency situation,” he said.

“The booklet is a quick and easy guide to preventing, preparing for, responding to and recovering from emergencies.

“I’d urge anyone who has not read it to do so.”

The plan can be accessed through the Disaster Hub on Council’s website (www.redland.qld.gov.au).

Regular updated information on the NSI fire situation is provided through the Redland City Council and QFES Facebook pages, as well as their websites www.redland.qld.gov.au and www.fire.qld.gov.au, and also through local radio stations.