Dead kangaroos pictured at the northern end of Bribie Island during August bushfires.
Dead kangaroos pictured at the northern end of Bribie Island during August bushfires.

Disastrous bushfire caused by ‘planned burn’

A DAMNING investigation into the Bribie Island blaze, that killed hundreds of wildlife and ripped through 2400 hectares of bushland, has revealed it was 'mostly likely' caused by a planned burn.

It was responsible for the ghastly images that surfaced of multiple dead kangaroos strewn across the north eastern beaches of the island, as they attempted to escape the inferno.

The Department of Environment and Science (DES) found that is was mostly likely caused by a Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) and HQ Plantations burn off near the Ocean Beach campsite.

"There were no planned burns conducted in the area in the days leading up to the wildfire outbreak," a DES spokesman said.

"Three weeks previously, a planned burn was conducted by QPWS and HQ Plantations in the national park, in favourable, cool weather conditions.

"DES's investigation has found the fire in August was most likely caused by peat deposits from the earlier planned burn, which continued to smoulder beneath the surface within a remote, swampy location.

"Due to adverse weather and wind conditions, which were unusual that early in the fire season, the peat layer reignited surface vegetation and the fire quickly spread. It was brought under control two days later."

At the time of the fire hundreds of residents took to social media in outrage at the suspected planned burn off.

Simon Hughes: "It wasn't windy the day of the backburn but in this day and age it's not hard to check the forecast. August, September and October are usually the windiest months anyway."

The DES spokesman went on to say the extreme fire conditions experienced at the beginning of the fire season were "due to the impacts of climate change".

"This is why the Queensland Government allocated an extra $16 million over four years in this year's Budget, and $2.6 million in funding annually to provide improved capability for bushfire management in our national parks and forests," he said.

One of the many dead kangaroos pictured in August.
One of the many dead kangaroos pictured in August.

Animals have begun to return to the area on Bribie Island that was burnt, including "various macropod species and reptiles", according to rangers.

During the fire, many wildlife rescuers and volunteers offered to help save injured animals, but weren't allowed to enter the site due to safety reasons.

"During and after the fire on Bribie Island, QPWS rangers monitored the fire line and burnt ground for injured wildlife," the spokesman said.

"QFES crews recovered one injured wallaby, which was passed to wildlife carers.

"DES appreciates the offers of assistance from wildlife carers, and thanks them for their support during and after the wildfire."

The fire did not destroy or threaten and public infrastructure or private property.