Island closes as Fraser Island blaze nears famous resort

Firefighting efforts are ramping up on Fraser Island in a bid to protect world-renowned Kingfisher Bay Resort.

As of Friday afternoon a fire was burning with two fronts about 5km north of the resort and 2km west of Cathedrals.

Firefighting sources told the Daily efforts were being focused on the front approaching the resort, with hot, windy conditions forecast for the weekend.

Winds initially from the northeast then northwest are expected to make for challenging firefighting conditions.

Sources said the fire was about 3 or 4km from the resort on Friday.

Backburning efforts were under way, supported by aerial waterbombing, to contain the blaze.

Firefighters had not ordered an evacuation of the resort or the island, but from 5pm Friday Fraser Island was closed to new visitors.

Fraser Island fire photos from ABC Sunshine Coast
Fraser Island fire photos from ABC Sunshine Coast

About 900 campers remain on the island as the fire, which has already burnt through 42 per cent of the island (72,000ha) rolls on.

A Department of Environment and Science spokesman described it as a “dynamic situation”, although the fire did not currently present a threat to lives or property.

Barge services will continue to operate for those wanting to exit the island, and campers are being urged to stay updated on any change in conditions or orders.

The bushfire warning level remained at advice on Friday evening.

Dundubara, and some eastern beach campsites were closed, as well as access tracks in the middle of the island and the west coast, for safety, and to allow firefighting crews better access as they worked to contain the blaze.

It was understood to have been started by an illegal campfire back in October.

Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island.
Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island.

Winds forecast for the weekend were expected to drive the fire south.

The blaze had proven difficult for crews to manage, burning in hard-to-access areas and with a plentiful fuel load of coastal heath, despite the best efforts of ground and aircrews including a large air tanker.

Authorities said they would notify Kingfisher Bay Resort owners and operators if conditions altered and any evacuation of the resort was required.

The Daily has attempted to contact Kingfisher Bay Resort management.