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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Bushfire Update

Teen to face court

(courtesy of

A 14-year-old boy will face court for his alleged involvement in this week’s Noosa National Park fires, which threatened more than 500 homes over a 24-hour period. Yesterday, police issued the teenager with a notice to appear at the Noosa Children’s Court. Because of the boy’s age, he is being dealt with under the Juvenile Justice Act, which means no more information about the charges will be made public.

Police investigations into the bushfire, which began just after 2pm on Monday and was not brought under control until just after 4pm on Tuesday, are continuing.

The fire burned more than 800 hectares of Noosa National Park, and residents in the areas of Sunrise Beach, Sunshine Beach and Lake Weyba had a restless time on Monday night as the blaze came close to their homes.

More than 70 firefighters, including rural volunteers and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service officers, kept the blaze from reaching more than 500 homes.

Sunshine Coast lawyer and Daily online columnist Damon Locantro said the penalties for a juvenile under the Act, ranged from a caution and reprimand to detention – which is the juvenile equivalent of a prison sentence.

“It is quite a serious allegation,” Mr Locantro said.

“If the young person is found guilty he could face a penalty up towards the more serious penalties available under that Act.”

Firefighters have warned that the Noosa fire may not be the worst we see this season.

Inspector Kevin Lucas said the increased rain over the past two years had resulted in a lot of new growth on forest floors.

“Many places have not had the opportunity to burn off that new growth,” Insp Lucas said.
“So there is an accumulation of fuel on the ground. I think you would find in most places (in Queensland) there is a lot of fuel.

“Without rain it just dries out until it gets to a state where it just needs the right humidity or ignition source and up it goes.”

Insp Lucas said people living in what firefighters call the “I zone”, or the interface zone between urban and rural areas, needed to be particularly prepared for fire season.

“Those living in rural urban areas or where there are a lot of trees need to plan ahead,” he said.

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