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Stradbroke Island bushfire rages ahead of school holiday population boom

By Kerrin Binnie, Thursday September 19, 2019 - 17:53 EST

A large bushfire is continuing to burn on North Stradbroke Island, off Brisbane, ahead of an expected influx of school holiday visitors.

About 8,000 people are due to visit the island from tomorrow — more than quadrupling the population.

The blaze is burning in inaccessible swamp south of the Amity Point township and is not threatening any property at this stage, however five people left their homes overnight.

As a precaution, about 30 people are expected to spend the night in an evacuation centre in the township of Dunwich.

So far, 2,200 hectares of swamp and bush has been burnt through.

Redland City Council Mayor Karen Williams said the fire is burning within containment lines and there is no risk to holidaymakers.

"It's definitely open for business," she said.

"You shouldn't cancel your travel plans."

Waterbombing planes and helicopters are being used to douse the flames and a large aerial tanker from New South Wales was used to drop a suppressant gel on the fire yesterday.

The blaze has come close to East Coast Road — the main road linking the island's three townships — but authorities said that part of the fire was under control.

Ms Williams said firefighters are making sure critical infrastructure is protected

"Weather conditions have improved allowing the firefighters to do burn-offs and mitigate fire threatening the various pieces of infrastructure that connect the island, whether it be power or roads or water," she said.

The fire was started by a lightning strike on Tuesday night as thunderstorms passed over South East Queensland.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services said the smoke haze from the fires that wafted over the mainland resulted in a large number of triple 0 calls overnight.

Energex has brought in three 500kVA generators to Amity Point in case power infrastructure is damaged by the fire.

A total fire ban will be in place on the island until at least October 4.


© ABC 2019

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