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Men fined for lighting campfire that caused Fraser Island to burn for two months

Two men are fined for illegally lighting a campfire on Fraser Island (K’gari) which led to a major blaze that burnt through half of the World Heritage-listed island within two months.

Jan 21, 2021, updated Jan 21, 2021
The fire on Fraser Island (K'Gari) burned for two months (Photo: Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation)

The fire on Fraser Island (K'Gari) burned for two months (Photo: Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation)

Two men have been fined for illegally lighting a campfire on Fraser Island (K’gari) which led to a major blaze that burnt through half of the World Heritage-listed island within two months.

Liam Cheshire pleaded guilty in the Hervey Bay Magistrates Court to two charges including unlawfully lighting a fire on October 14.

The court heard he was deeply remorseful and was fined $1334 with no conviction recorded.

Another man, Dominic McGahn, also pleaded guilty to one charge of unlawfully lighting a fire and was fined $667.

The bushfire burned through more than 87,000 hectares of land on the World Heritage-listed island.

It started in mid-October and burned for two months — only drawing to a close when heavy rain fell over the island.

Authorities began waterbombing on November 14 and have since been criticised by some tourism operators for not getting on top of the blaze sooner.

The island township of Happy Valley was evacuated as local and interstate firefighters, National Parks rangers and Indigenous rangers defended resorts and homes in the line of fire.

Two other men had their cases adjourned until next month.

– ABC / Johanna Marie

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