Magnetic Island North Queensland
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A young koala's beach adventure

December 15th 2006
Dangerous campfire at Balding

This sand could be 500 degrees C Although we have enjoyed a few showers of late, until heavy wet season rain falls, this is the hottest driest and most bushfire-prone time of year on Magnetic Island. It was, then, disappointing to learn that a large beach campfire had been lit at Balding Bay recently.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Ranger in Charge on Magnetic, Patrick Centurino, discovered the remains of the fire the following day and even though it had been covered in sand, after 18 to 20 hours, the fire was, according to Patrick, "Still hot enough to melt glass"

"As far as I can ascertain glass melts at between 500 and 1500 degrees Celsius. A glass bottle which had been thrown into the fire was deformed and soft.

"Imagine the feet of a child inadvertently stepping on it. It took me 30 minutes to put the fire out by dispersing the sand and throwing dozens of buckets of water on it.

"A beach fire which has been covered up with sand in an attempt to put it out is near invisible. In fact the sand will keep the temperature hotter and for a longer time than if it had been left uncovered.

"However, letting it burn out whilst not attended could start a wildfire.

"At this time of the year, turtles nest on beaches, turtles may be intimidated by fires and not nest; or a fire could inadvertently be started on a turtle nest with adverse consequences for the hatchlings.

"It is prohibited to do so and people may be prosecuted for doing so.

"If a cinder escapes and burns the hills from the bottom up, which is very likely at this time of year, it would create a high intensity scorch that may not benefit the vegetation.

"Fire fighters would have to risk their lives to protect houses and people; most of them are volunteers and wouldn''t be able to earn a living whilst fighting the fire.

"The laws and guidelines are in place to help us look after our environment not to prevent people from having fun. Be responsible, abide by signs and pictograms displayed throughout the park and around the island," said Patrick Centurino.

To make a comment see below

Dangerous campfire at Balding
January 14th 2007
Couldn't agree more about lighting fires on the beach. I called the police about 5 weeks ago and nothing happened. What are we supposed to do Patrick. I often see backpackers going up the track at dusk with the obvious intention of camping and perhaps lighting a fire. Is there a number we can ring??
Bob Duncan
January 16th 2007
How about all the dogs droppings on Horseshoe Bay Beach on the way to beautiful Balding. When I holidayed there there we saw 2 big black furry dogs regularly running free at sunset and leaving their mess. The owners just ignored it. Disgusting.
Sue Duncan
February 1st 2007
During our stays on your wonderful Island, Balding has always been a highlight that's for sure. Bob and I loved it.... and most of the Island. BUT fires on Balding!!!! Dog droppings on Horseshoe!!!! What are you guys thinking? Here's another one. How about the cars on the sand at Horseshoe every day generally???? As regular visitors for many years we have seen the frontal dune eroded particularly in the last few years and while we were there at sunset we saw vehicles (which were obviously VERY local residents because they were there early the next morning so parked there overnight) drive OVER the remnant vegetation which is desperately trying to hold the sands together but is destroyed by these people. Do theyt want ABSOLUTE waterfront or something? Some offending vehicles were not even (Queensland) registered vehicles and it made us wonder. Are they registered at all? Are they illegally in Queensland? I thought 3 months was the legal limit for interstate residents to register their Victorian or Cockroach cars. Are they illegally on the sand every night? Police and Parks What are you doing????

What do you think? Send us your comments.

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