News State QLD News Positive signs in desperate effort to put out Fraser Island fire
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Positive signs in desperate effort to put out Fraser Island fire

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Firefighting crews dropped almost a million litres of water on the massive fire that has razed almost half of Fraser Island on Thursday.

Water-bombing crews crisscrossed the island in a desperate effort to gain control of the seven-week-old bushfire.

The effort appears to be beginning to pay off. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services said the intensive water-bombing and the efforts of bolstered ground crews had significantly slowed the spread of the blaze in the past two days.

There was still a watch and act warning for Kingfisher Bay Resort and Village on Friday morning.

The resort was evacuated earlier this week, with only a handful of workers left. Even they were told to be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice on Thursday.

There is also a separate advice warning for the remainder of the island.

The fire is burning in an area from near Dundonga Creek, east of Kingfisher Bay Resort and Village, through to Cornwells Road in the south.

“Firefighters on the ground will be supported by water-bombing aircraft today (Friday) to continue containing the fire,” QFES said.

“Multiple fire crews are working to contain the fire but firefighters may not be able to protect every property. You should not expect a firefighter at your door.”

Residents are also warned they are likely to be affected by smoke throughout Friday.

Also n Friday, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Minister Mark Ryan told state parliament that specialists fighting the blaze on the world heritage-listed national park had the right tools to use.

“The deployment of firefighting resources, including the larger air tanker, is a matter for the experts, our firefighters,” he said.

“I trust them to make the right decisions just like this government trusted Dr Jeanette Young, our chief health officer, to make the right (COVID-19) decisions.”

Water bombers have dumped almost three million litres of water and fire-retardant gel on the fire, which has razed 82,500 hectares of vegetation since being sparked by an illegal campfire.

But the loose soil on the world’s largest sand island is causing the liquid to drain away quickly in the inaccessible bush-covered dunes where the fire continues to burn on multiple fronts.

“Nearly 100 specialists, including professional firefighters, are on the ground fighting this fire,” Mr Ryan said

“They are being supported by firefighting aircraft, including five fixed-wing bombers, two heli-attack bombers, two air attack platforms, one air observation platform, one larger air tanker and one LAT lead plane.”

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services took over management of the fire from the national park’s ranger service last Friday.

It immediately ordered tourists to stay away from the island, closing access to all except residents and essential workers.

Visitors already on the island have been told to stay close to campsites and avoid inland tracks and roads.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Wednesday ordered a full review into the Department of Environment and QFES emergency response to the blaze.

Fraser Island is about 250 kilometres north of Brisbane. It is 123 kilometres long and covers 181,851 hectares.

-with AAP