Australia — THE response to the North Stradbroke Island fires has been a major logistical feat, seeing an influx of up to 30 mainland fire crews at any one time, as well as police and State Emergency Service reinforcements.
The co-ordination of emergency services both on the ground and in the air has been managed from a command centre next to the Dunwich auxillary fire station, with a fleet of fire trucks, police cars and other vehicles housed next door.
The management of the operation has received praise from state Energy and Water Supply Minister Mark McArdle, who visited the island on Monday, and Cleveland MP Mark Robinson, who was given a helicopter tour of the devastated areas on Wednesday.
“On behalf of the Straddie community I would like to thank all of the local fire, police and all emergency services officers for their tireless work in protecting the community,” he said.
The Stradbroke community’s response to the blaze has also been praised, especially those forced to evacuate during the creation of a Public Safety Presevation Act in parts of Dunwich over the weekend.
A PSPA allows police to order the evacuation of any household or other property.
Dunwich Police Station officer-in-charge Sergeant Peter Twort said most residents had complied with the order.
“We’ve only had one issue during an evacuation where a particular family didn’t want to leave and were forcibly removed from their premises, but they were only a few out of the hundreds of people that we’ve moved so far,” he said.
“The locals have been excellent, as well as tourists, because everyone understands the situation.”
The island’s bushfire management strategy will come under review once the current blazes are extinguished, with a “debrief day” for locals also flagged as a possibility.
Redland City Council Cr Craig Ogilvie said the bushfire would create lingering issues.
“There’s always lessons to be learnt from these kinds of situations,” he said.
“Every event like this cleans the slate and means we need to reconsider where to perform hazard reduction burns and plans need to be reviewed.”