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Fire emergency on World Heritage listed K’gari-Fraser Island downgraded after massive effort

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A bushfire emergency on Queensland’s K’gari-Fraser Island has been downgraded after a massive water bombing campaign and cool change.

Fire and Emergency Services on Tuesday warned people living in The Oakes and larger Kingfisher Bay Village and Resort to prepare to leave.

That warning is no longer current but firefighters continue to manage blazes in the area and others across the island.

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“People on K’gari should stay informed as the fire continues to burn in multiple areas,” the QFES said on Wednesday morning.

“Properties are not under direct threat at this time.”

Travel to the island from the mainland remains restricted to local residents, essential service providers and emergency services workers.

The blaze – believed to have been started by an illegal campfire – has blackened half of the world heritage-listed island since mid-October, with a local community environmental group expressing concerns over the impact on its unique ecosystems.

Peter Shooter, president of the Fraser Island Defenders Organisation, said on Tuesday the island’s large populations of small marsupials, reptiles, birds, and insects would have been “massively impacted”.

“K’gari is an island with vegetation types that traditionally do burn and recover from burning,” he said.

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“But this fire has been of such a magnitude and duration that the impact is really concerning. There has never been a recorded fire of this type on K’gari.”

Meanwhile, NSW Rural Fire Service air tanker Marie Bashir has returned home after helping with water-bombing efforts.

Queensland Fire and Emergency wished the plane a “safe flight home” on Twitter, thanking NSW for their support. 

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