Daily News Roundup

November 18, 2019

The fire emergency facing Queensland is still not over and won’t be for weeks, according to the Acting Fire Commissioner
Image: ABC news

MONDAY November 18

The fire emergency facing Queensland is still not over and won’t be for weeks, according to the Acting Fire Commissioner who says it will take a heavy dose of rainfall to get the 70 fires under control

Today’s weather conditions are some of the best fire crews have seen over the past 10 days.

Authorities say that while there are no bushfires currently at emergency levels, there are still five of concern. 

These fires include, Pechey (north of Toowoomba), the Border Rangers, Woodgate, Cobraball and Moreton Island. 

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Acting Commissioner Mike Wassing said firefighters were fighting an uphill battle. 

“[Today] peters out a little bit. When I say it peters out we’re back to very high conditions and in some parts of the state moderate conditions,” Commissioner Wassing said. 

“The reality though for us [firefighters] is with these fires we’ll be fighting some of these fires for weeks yet.

“These fires will not go out – even the rainfall that we get that we’ve seen in some of those isolated storms will not be putting them out.”

It was hoped yesterday’s rainfall would bring relief to fire crews, but the storm cell brought dry lightning.

The peak rainfall total was just 39mm, recorded at the Sunshine Coast where hail battered homes, felled trees and cut power to almost 20,000 homes. 

4,000 hectares of land have been burnt in the Pechey/Ravensbourne fire and a 737 aircraft was brought in to help contain the blaze. 

####

Three teenage boys have been arrested after a grassfire was allegedly started in Sydney’s south-west last night. 

A passing motorist alerted authorities when he saw the fire in bush land off The Northern Road at Harrington Park about 5:30pm yesterday. 

Firefighters attended the incident and the fire was extinguished by 6:15pm.

After receiving information from the public, police searched the area and arrested two boys, aged 15 and 16, near Harrington Parkway. 

A third teenager, 15, was arrested a short time later. 

All three teenagers were taken to Narellan Police Station and have been interviewed by police in the presence of their support people. 

They are eligible to be dealt with under the Young Offenders Act. 

The incident follows other arrests in NSW and Queensland last week after bushfires were started. 

Last Friday, a 51-year-old man was charged with lighting an out-of-control fire in the NSW Northern Tablelands in order to protect a cannabis crop. 

A 16-year-old boy was charged over a fire that destroyed homes and livelihoods in Yeppoon in Queensland. 

In a separate incident, a 34-year-old man was charged last week after allegedly setting off a firework which started a fire in a Sydney park. 

####

A vegan has objected to Bunnings using a sausage sizzle to raise money for bushfire victims, claiming it is inappropriate because farming meat contributes to global warming and therefore the risk of more fires. 

“Why oh why are people selling sausages to raise money, when it’s known that meat is a contributing factor to climate change?!” the woman wrote in a post on the Facebook group “Vegan Gals Australia”.

“Which is a contributing factor to these fires?! It honestly baffles my mind and makes me so sad. 

“It’s a heartbreaking vicious cycle.”

The post attracted criticism for being insensitive to people fighting  to defend property and lives from more than 100 fires across NSW and Queensland. 

This morning, Bunnings announced it would hold a sausage sizzle between 9am and 4pm on November 22 to raise funds for communities hit by drought and bushfires. 

Bunnings chief operating officer Debbie Poole said store team members were totally behind the cause. 

“As a part of these local communities who have been affected, we want to help. Many of our regional teams have already been assisting impacted communities on a local level but we had team members from all over Australia also wanting to lend a hand for these two important causes,” Ms Poole said.