Arson destroys most of Deagon Wetlands
MORE than three-quarters of the Deagon Wetlands has been destroyed in the past month in about 20 acts of arson.
Deagon Ward Councillor Jared Cassidy said the fires, which have burnt about 44 of the 56 hectares of wetlands and caused a significant amount of smoke haze, would also have displaced and potentially killed many animals.
The latest fire occurred last Tuesday, August 16 near the the corner of Bracken Ridge Road and Agnew Street, Sandgate, and involved the deployment of 22 staff and nine firefighting units from the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and Council.
The wetlands are now closed to the public because of large smouldering logs and potential danger from falling trees.
"Council staff will be on site daily to monitor the area and undertake further work towards making the area safe," Cr Cassidy said.
"Once Council staff have determined that there are no further risks on the site, then the closure will be lifted.
"Council has ongoing management programs post-fire that includes tree, weed and track management.
"While this (latest fire) has coincided with Council back burning, some people have assumed the smoke they have been experiencing around Sandgate and Brighton is a result of that.
"However the smoke over the last week has been the result of illegally lit fires.
"Council officers were advised by a QFES officer that there had been 20 acts of arson and Council's Asset Services advise there are only about 12 hectares remaining untouched by fire of the 56 hectare wetlands.
"Sadly this area does have a history of arson.
"Over the years large areas of the wetlands reserve have been destroyed by fire and I would urge anyone who sees any suspicious activity to contact the police immediately."
QFES have attended a couple of other small grass fires this month - in Bald Hills, Bracken Ridge and Sandgate - and a tree on fire in Deagon.
Acting Bushfire Safety Officer for the Brisbane region Liane Henderson said arson cost a lot of money.
"Arsonists put not only their own lives in danger but the lives of others as well," Mrs Henderson said.
"Arsonists can destroy ecosystems and cause massive amounts of smoke which impacts on people with asthma.
"It is hazard reduction burning season. Council and land management agencies are doing burning which is not just for hazard reduction; it is also about conservation and it helps little creatures to survive.
"But they do it in a controlled way at certain times of the year when it's not going to impact on the animals.
"A fire can run straight across a wetland. It might be wet under but it runs over the dry stuff on top.
"If you live near a bush area you can be impacted by embers so it's really important to make sure your property is safe - clear vegetation around your house, clean leaves out of gutters and keep your lawns mowed."