Fires are now banned at Teewah Beach ‘indefinitely’
Recent indefinite bans on campfires at Teewah Beach by QPWS have been implemented without stakeholder consultation.
There was no recognition that livelihoods are on the line, as well as a way of life for generations of families who return to Cooloola National Park for an affordable beach holiday.
One of the familiar comforts of camping is sitting around the fire, particularly in the winter months. Local business owners fear a negative impact on visitor numbers, and loss of income.
Reasons for the indefinite ban included: “following an ecological assessment of bushfire impacts from the 2019/20 bushfires and an assessment of the K’gari bushfire”.
The K’gari (Fraser Island) Bushfire Review Report was released last month with little mention of Rainbow Beach.
The 84-page document included 38 recommendations, and they looked like this:
“The Inspector-General Emergency Management recommends the membership of the K’gari Locality Specific Fire Management Group be expanded to include representatives of the Butchulla people, community associations from each township and tourism and business operators with interests on the island.
“The Inspector-General Emergency Management recommends the Bushfire Risk Mitigation Plan for Fraser Coast Area Fire Management Group include a schedule of planned engagement activities, or a community engagement sub-plan outlining these activities, and be publicly available.”
In essence, the review found opportunities for QFES and QPWS to:
- review their interagency protocols with the Butchulla people to enhance the timely deployment of resources in future events.
- better engage with relevant stakeholders, the Butchulla people and the community, to plan and undertake hazard mitigation activities.
In that respect, it was disappointing that QFES and QPWS were not able to attend a RBCT meeting last month, as planned.
The K’gari Fire Report highlighted how important consultation is, as well as publicising bushfire risk mitigation plans – something that we could all benefit from with the Teewah fire situation.
Hopefully together, we can work on strategies that will minimise harmful behaviours of a few, rather than penalise the entirety.
What is the campfire ban at Teewah Beach?
On the spot fines of $667 can be issued to people who light fires while camping or visiting the Cooloola Recreation Area.
The ban includes all fires that are not fully self-contained, such as open campfires, fires in drums and other open containers where the fire can escape or cause ember drift. Gas barbecues can be used.
Campfires are permitted in the Inskip Point Recreation Area in accordance with all local directions for that area.
For now, cooking and heating appliances that meet the below requirements are permitted at Teewah Beach:
- The appliance must use only manufactured fuel. Manufactured fuel does not include timber or wood.
- It must be used for cooking and/or heating only.
- It must be a minimum of 20cm off the ground and more than 2m from flammable materials.
- They do not have the potential to generate airborne embers or possibly ignite nearby ground fuels.
- They must be fully contained and never left unattended when in use.
- Appliances that are not fully self-contained, such as braziers, are not permitted.
- All appliances, materials and fuels (e.g. heat beads) must be removed from the recreation area on your departure.