Selfless souls helped to keep hinterland safe

400 hectares destroyed in early season blaze

A BLAZE thought to be caused by hoons and that ripped through over 400 hectares of forest near Beerwah and Glass House Mountains was brought under control by hundreds of volunteers who have been praised as the heart and soul of the hinterland. Some 80 per cent of the 300 personnel who battled the fire were volunteers, authorities said.

Extensive ground and aerial resources were used to battle the blaze that began within the Glass House Mountains National park around midday on Sunday.

Just hours later authorities issued their first ‘leave now’ directives for some residents as the blaze rapidly grew out of control.

The fire appeared to be brought under control before flaring again on Monday afternoon (Sep 18) with authorities again forced to issue ‘leave now’ directives for some residents.

QFES Sunshine Coast area director, Inspector Andrew Allan, said it was a huge effort by all involved.

“If you look at what it potentially could have gone to, to where we’ve pulled it up, we’ve done extraordinarily well,” he said.“It had a whole lot more potential.”

Insp Allan especially thanked the volunteers, many of who were working 12-hour shifts to help bring the blaze under control.

“Around 80 per cent of those involved were volunteers. These people are the heart and soul of the fire service Queensland-wide, but especially here on Sunshine Coast,” he said.

Member for Glasshouse, Andrew Powell, said he was awe inspired by the efforts of so many to protect the hinterland.

“How good are our amazing volunteers from the rural fire brigades across the region, including Glasshouse Mountains, Beerwah, Landsborough and Maleny,” he said.

“In talking with them since the fire, there’s a sense of pride and achievement at keeping our communities safe. But there’s also a weariness. And concern.

“Each fire is taxing on their personal and team stamina and resources. I love how the community has stepped up to support them with free coffees and non-perishable items.

“But we need to also make sure they have enough fellow volunteers. So if you’ve ever considered, but never acted on, joining the rural fire brigades now might be the time. Or wait till this season is over and join and train in time for the next.

“The government also needs to ensure they’re doing all they can to equip, resource and encourage our brigades. The volunteers are rightly concerned this is going to be a long and hard fire season. The last thing they need is an unresponsive or bureaucratic government making it even tougher.”

Authorities have confirmed that while there was no information to suggest the fire was deliberately lit, investigations are still underway to determine the full extent of the damage and cost caused by the fire. The source of the fire has been linked to alleged hooning activity with a Department of Environment and Science (DES) spokesperson confirming that the fire was initiated outside of the national park area with a subsequent grass fire migrating into the protected area between Mawsons Road and Roys Road.

Persons of interest were identified and interviewed by authorities in the days following the initial outbreak, with numerous investigations ongoing.

Insp Allan said with the Bureau of Meteorology recently confirming the formation of an El Nino weather pattern, hinterland residents were being shown an early sign of what could be expected this summer.

A DES spokesperson said the impacts of the unplanned fire had been significantly reduced due to regular maintenance and planned burns including three planned burns in the Glass House Mountains National Park in 2023.

“In March 2022, our planned burn treated 145.5 hectares in our protected area between Mawsons Road and Roys Road in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. We also conducted mechanical fire mitigation works in the protected area during 2022 and 2023,” the spokesperson said.

Insp Allan reiterated that every household should ensure they have an adequate bushfire survival plan in place.

“If you see smoke don’t assume someone has called 000. The sooner we can get onto a situation then the better chance we have of getting on top of it,” he said.

For more details on fire preparation or Bushfire Survival Plans visit,

Main image: Firies and HQ Plantations at the site of last week’s blaze. Image: HQ Plantations.