A Cooloola Coast man has called out a government department asking why fire bans are still in place after the rain.
A Cooloola Coast man has called out a government department asking why fire bans are still in place after the rain.

Fire bans ‘slowly killing’ family beach campsites, local says

A Rainbow Beach man has spoken out about the extended fire bans at the Cooloola recreation area, saying the restrictions are “slowly killing” one of the main affordable camping spots in South East Queensland.

Rob Gough, also known locally as “The Ice Man”, said the decisions were being made by the Department of Environment & Science (DES) without consulting the towns and businesses directly affected by their rules.

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“With all this rain you would think that the fire ban would be lifted ... do they have an agenda?” Mr Gough said.

“Having a campfire is part of camping, especially through autumn, winter and spring.”

The fire bans were put in place on December 7, 2020, and include the areas of Teewah Beach, Noosa North Shore and Upper Noosa River. Fires are permitted at Inskip.

Rob Gough operates an ice truck that delivers ice to the campgrounds on the Cooloola Coast.
Rob Gough operates an ice truck that delivers ice to the campgrounds on the Cooloola Coast.

A DES spokesperson said the ban was implemented to help protect visitors, reduce the risk of bushfires, reduce people being exposed to the dangers of campfires covered with sand and prevent visitors burning inappropriate things in campfires.

“Following an ecological assessment of bushfire impacts from the 2019/2020 bushfires and an assessment of the K’gari bushfire, the current ban on campfires will continue indefinitely within the Cooloola Recreation Area,” the spokesperson said.

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The spokesperson said the ban included all fires not fully self-contained, such as open campfires, fires in drums and other open containers where the fire can escape or cause ember drift, but excluded gas barbecues.

“There is a history of escaped campfires in the Cooloola Recreation Area causing bushfires, which are difficult to control in the coastal heath vegetation and high dune terrain,” they said.

“Since mid-2017, four bushfires have burned through 15,000 hectares at Teewah Beach, which has caused serious damage to the national park’s natural and cultural values and left the coastal region prone to land slips.”

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Mr Gough was also concerned with the fact that DES closed 5kms of campgrounds, crowding people together, which he said was contrary to COVID-19 guidelines.

“What else are they going to stop?”

“They are slowly killing the last family affordable camping available in South East Queensland.”

On the spot fines of $667 can be issued to people who light fires while camping or visiting the Cooloola Recreation Area, but campfires are still permitted in the Inskip Point Recreation Area. 

MORE FIRE BAN INFORMATION HERE

Gympie Times


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