Burnt-out bushland is seen in Peregian Beach, Queensland, Wednesday, September 11, 2019. Relieved residents of some bushfire-affected Sunshine Coast suburbs have been allowed to return home after being evacuated on Monday. (AAP Image/Rob Maccoll).
Burnt-out bushland is seen in Peregian Beach, Queensland, Wednesday, September 11, 2019. Relieved residents of some bushfire-affected Sunshine Coast suburbs have been allowed to return home after being evacuated on Monday. (AAP Image/Rob Maccoll).

Fires force closure of campgrounds over school holidays

NUMEROUS popular campgrounds and forests around the state will not be reopened in time for the September school holidays due to the continuing threat of bushfires.

As firefighters continue to battle bushfires on the Sunshine Coast and in other parts of Queensland, 12 national parks and State Forests closed by the Department of Environment and Science (DES) throughout Queensland remain closed or partially closed.

The six still closed include the popular Lamington National Park and the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk on Binna Burra Rd, Binna Burra, in the Gold Coast hinterland where bushfires have been raging, including destroying the historic Binna Burra Lodge.

The other areas closed include the Broadwater State Forest, on Glenlyon Drive, Applethorpe, Glen Rock National Park, 42km south of Gatton on East Haldon Rd, East Haldon and Girraween National Park, Pyramids Rd, Ballandean, in the Darling Downs.

They also include Lockyer National Park on Millers Rd, Helidon, and Sundown National Park on Permanents Rd, Sundown.

Campers already booked for the school holidays - which start this weekend and run through to October 7 for most state schools - scheduled or to apply for refunds via qld.gov/camping.

Warning notices on the DES web site advising of temporary closures state bushfire mitigation activities were in progress throughout most of the national parks and State Forests, with areas to reopen once conditions were deemed safe.

The closures apply to all walking tracks, picnic and day use areas and camping.

"All permits for closed areas are suspended for the duration of the closure,' the statement reads.

Another six national parks have been partially closed, including parts of Bribie Island National Park and Recreation Area on White Patch Esplanade, Bribie Island and the Peregian section of the Noosa National Park, off David Low Way on the Sunshine Coast.

Ocean beach campgrounds from 11 to 64 remain closed at Bribie Island until at least September 27 due a high fire danger threat.

"The current weather conditions together with recent fire activity and large sections of unburnt vegetation behind these campsites poses an unacceptable risk to visitor safety," a notice by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service states on the DES website.

"Public safety of our visitors is our primary concern and QPWS is mindful of this short notice and disturbance to families' holiday plans.

"QPWS is continuing to monitor the situation and will open these campsites when safe."

Aerial pictures over Binna Burra on September 8, 2019, where visibility made it impossible to see the burn Binna Burra lodge. Picture: Adam Heads
Aerial pictures over Binna Burra on September 8, 2019, where visibility made it impossible to see the burn Binna Burra lodge. Picture: Adam Heads

Other parks partially closed include sections of the Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park, Portland Rd, Lockhart, the Main Range National Park, off the Cunningham Hwy, Warwick, and some of Mount Barney National Park, off Boonah-Rathdowney Road, Burnett Creek.

Sections of the Great Sandy National Park, off the Bruce Highway near Tewantin, including Cooloola Great Walk, parts of Teewah Beach, the Cooloola Recreation area and the K'gari (Fraser Island) Great Walk are also partially closed.

Most areas are scheduled to be closed through to October, however, updates will be provided on the DES web site.

A golf course is seen next to a bushfire-damaged area near Noosa Heads on the Sunshine Coast on September 10, 2019. Picture: Dan Peled/AAP
A golf course is seen next to a bushfire-damaged area near Noosa Heads on the Sunshine Coast on September 10, 2019. Picture: Dan Peled/AAP

Marc Dargusch, principal Queensland Parks and Wildlife ranger for the Great Sandy Area, said the fire in that area was approaching 7500 hectares since it started on September 8.

"We're dealing with two divisions within the Kings Bore track fire, the southern flank, and the western flank" he said.

The fire originated from a camper's poorly extinguished campfire near Kings Bore on Teewah Beach and is burning south and near the Upper Noosa river and Teewah Beach.

Mr Dargusch, who emphasised a fire ban was still in place, said he could not say when parks would fully reopen in that area.

"It's constant reassessment, seeing how our main focus at the moment is to ensure the fire is completely controlled," he said.

"For people who had intended to come up during school holidays, get onto the (DES) web site to get the most up-to-date information.

"We have back burning operations going on today but we're not sure when that will finish.

"We have constantly got that in back of mind, that we know people want to have a good time and come up here."
Visit the Department of Environment and Science web site here: parks.des.qld.gov.au

Anyone booked into private campgrounds are advised to contact them for information.



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