Peregian Springs Fire
Peregian Springs Fire

Damage bill mounts for summer of catastrophe

THE damages bill sparked by Queensland's devastating bushfires is still being tallied, as firefighters brace for similar conditions that were experienced last year.

Since August last year, 35,000 Queensland firefighters and volunteers have helped fight the state's blazes that have destroyed more than 2.5 million hectares.

The first major firefighting operation lasted from September 4 to 17 when fires tore through Stanthorpe, Applethorpe, Binna Burra and Peregian.

The second began on October 5 and stretched until the 13th, primarily affecting Laidley in the Lockyer Valley region.

Burnt out vegetation near the scene of ignition point of yesterdays Peregian Beach bushfire which is being treated as suspicious due to the multiple ignition points. Picture: Lachie Millard
Burnt out vegetation near the scene of ignition point of yesterdays Peregian Beach bushfire which is being treated as suspicious due to the multiple ignition points. Picture: Lachie Millard

The third operation stretched across several locations including Noosa's north shore, Cobraball, and Moreton Island from November 7 to 23.

Then from December 2 to 15, more fires affected areas including Millmerran, Peregian Springs and Wivenhoe.

But the damages bill is still unknown, with a figure expected to be finalised in coming months.

Acting Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Di Farmer said the 2019 bushfire season was both extraordinary and unprecedented.

"A combination of hot, dry and windy conditions meant when a fire started, it was very difficult to control," she said.

"How we best prepare for and fight fires is a job requiring teamwork and the very best firefighters in the business.

"Ours have proven themselves time and time again."

Coolum school kids evacuate on their bikes as a bushfire rages between Coolum and Peregian Beach. Picture: Lachie Millard
Coolum school kids evacuate on their bikes as a bushfire rages between Coolum and Peregian Beach. Picture: Lachie Millard

Forty-nine homes were destroyed while 68 sheds were also lost.

As of yesterday, seven fires were burning across Queensland.

The fires followed a devastating flooding event that ravaged north and northwest Queensland last February, leaving 1429 properties uninhabitable.

As of October 2019, of the 742 properties in Townsville that remained uninhabitable, work had begun on 654 of them.

The estimated recovery and reconstruction costs funded through joint Commonwealth and State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements is more than $1.1 billion.

Deloitte Access Economics estimated the monsoonal event, that also caused catastrophic damage to communities as far north as the Torres Strait and west to Mount Isa, had a long-term social and economic cost of $5.68 billion.



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