The number of firefighting crew call outs in the Gympie region jumped by 69 per cent last year. (PHOTO: Barclay White)
The number of firefighting crew call outs in the Gympie region jumped by 69 per cent last year. (PHOTO: Barclay White)

Staggering numbers behind region’s devastating fire season

IT is no secret last year's fire season was catastrophic, but new figures have revealed how extraordinary things really were in the Gympie region.

QFES data reveals firefighting crew responses across the region flared 69 per cent, exploding from 544 in 2018-19 to 921 in 2019-20.

There were only 232 responses total in the three years before, and two-thirds of the 2018-19 responses were at Woolooga, which was engulfed by a week long firestorm in October 2018.

The surge in call-outs occurred despite a drop in the number of fires across the region. Photo Greg Miller / The Gympie Times
The surge in call-outs occurred despite a drop in the number of fires across the region. Photo Greg Miller / The Gympie Times

Responses were only recorded when crews received the message and began travelling to the fire.

The staggering increase only paints part of the picture, though.

The surge in call-outs occurred despite the number of fires region-wide dropping from 271 to 239.

And the past two years accounted for almost half of the bushfires experienced across the region since 2015.

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The cause of two thirds of these was listed as "other".

Heat or sparks from an open flame was the most commonly identified source of the region’s fires (outside the “other” category).
Heat or sparks from an open flame was the most commonly identified source of the region’s fires (outside the “other” category).

Of those with clearly identified ignition sources, heat or sparks from an open flame was the most common.

Ten per cent started this way (10 per cent of all bushfires).

Another 3 per cent were clearly caused by "fuel driven objects", and 2 per cent from natural causes.

Ten per cent more were undetermined.

The data does not include arson which is a specific criminal charge.

Since September 2018 there have been 39 reported cases of arson in the region, police data reveals.

Of these, 26 occurred in the past two years; nine were within the Gympie city limits.

Gympie Times


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