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Staff leave Fraser Island resort as firefighters face another tough day


Firefighters on Fraser Island are in for another testing day battling a massive bushfire that has destroyed almost half of the world-heritage-listed national park.

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Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has ordered a review into the Department of Environment and Queensland Fire and Emergency Service response to the blaze, which has razed 81,500 hectares.

It continues to burn on three fronts seven weeks after it was sparked by an illegal campfire, forcing authorities to evacuate some tourists and staff from the popular holiday spot.

“The sight of it burning is so painful,” Ms Palaszczuk told parliament on Wednesday.

“It’s understandable that those who love the island want to be assured that everything that could be done to protect it has and is being done.

“That is why I can confirm the Inspector-General Emergency Management has been instructed to conduct a full review. He will examine all aspects of preparedness and response.”

Water bombers have dumped more than a million litres of water and fire-retardant gel on the bushfire but the loose soil on the world’s largest sand island means it quickly drains away.

One front of the blaze is about 2km east of Kingfisher Bay Resort and heading south.

Guests were evacuated on Monday and most staff followed late on Wednesday.

Seven workers remain at the site to look after the firefighters, who have since moved in.

Another part of the bushfire is about 4km west of Happy Valley campsite.

On the eastern side of the island, the fire is about 3km south of the evacuated Cathedrals on Fraser camping grounds.

Extensive water bombing continues to slow the blaze but authorities warn a persistent heatwave could see weather conditions deteriorate.

QFES took over management of the fire from the national park’s ranger service on Friday and immediately ordered tourists to stay away from the island, closing access to all people except residents and essential workers.

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

The giant blaze is thought to have been started by an illegal campfire on October 14.

Fraser Island is about 250km north of Brisbane and 123km long.

According to The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, it covers 181,851 hectares.

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