’I told them this would happen’: Ex-cop’s fire prediction
UPDATE, 2.30PM: The Department of Environment and Science has responded to the claim the cessation of logging on Fraser Island had contributed to an out-of-control wildfire that has been burning on the island for six weeks.
"The World Heritage listing has not impacted the ability to backburn," a spokesman from the department said.
"The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service has conducted significant fire mitigation on K'gari, with planned burns averaging approximately 13,000 hectares per year over the last five years, which is 8 per cent of the area.
"That's above the recommended five per cent.
"K'gari's World Heritage listing does not prevent Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service from maintaining firebreaks and tracks across the island.
"Around $400,000 is spent each year in maintaining and improving firebreaks and tracks.
"QPWS has undertaken significant fire mitigation measures on K'gari including planned burns for asset protection and maintenance on strategic fire lines.
"Even these mitigation measures cannot combat the fire inducing effects of prolonged periods of hot, dry and windy weather conditions.
"This was borne out in the findings of the Recent Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements.
"Campers across Queensland need to take responsibility for putting out fires properly to save lives, property and the environment.
"The cessation of logging on the island contributed to the World Heritage listing and has not contributed to the current bushfire."
EARLIER: An eerie prediction of a "fierce fire" made by a top-ranking police officer has come to life on Fraser Island.
Written more than 15 years ago, the essay, penned by former Assistant Commissioner Greg Early, predicts the movement that stopped logging on the island would result in a catastrophy.
Mr Early sent the essay to the Chronicle this week as a wildlife that has burned for six weeks, encompassing almost half the island, continues to wreak havoc.
He talks about a time when, "in the early days of the Goss Labor Government, protests were launched against logging on Fraser Island".
"From recollection, these commenced early in 1990 and went on for over twelve months before the government decided to end logging on this island which had been undertaken for many years.
"World Heritage listing followed.
"While I may not see it in my lifetime, I predict that one day there will be a fierce fire on Fraser Island which will reduce to rubble the many trees that would otherwise have been removed under an effective logging plan," he wrote.
"Facts often never heard, are that the Forestry Department strictly controlled the trees that were to be taken, that only regrowth timber was felled, that many people were employed directly and indirectly and that the island produced a unique type of timber."
The Chronicle understands Park Rangers have spoken out about understaffing on the island, while reports have emerged of fire trucks being unable to access the fire due to mismanaged fire trails.
Stakeholders in the area say they are frustrated about a "diabolic" amount of red tape that they say may have hindered efforts to control the blaze.
"It is obscene the amount of red tape that I have to jump through … to be able to just give back to something that needs to be protected," Hana Robinson of Drop Bear Adventures said.