In August 2019, Bribie Island was ravaged by heavy bushfires. Stretching across a large portion of the National Park, a lot of forestry was damaged, destroying the homes and habitats of local wildlife. Now, 2 months later, the island is starting to make a recovery, animals are moving back inland, and nature will soon flourish again.
To find out more about how the fires affected the only sand island connected to the mainland, we spoke to local Jason Brown, owner of Bribie Island's 4WD tour company G'Day Adventure Tours.
The damage is quite extensive, stretching from just past the third lagoon (Mermaid Lagoon) along Ocean beach all the way up to the campgrounds and extending through to the wetlands along the northern access track.
For those wondering how long this distance is, from the third lagoon to the camping area is approximately 16km of beachfront. This approximation does not include how far inland the damage stretched.
There where a number of animals that were killed due to the fire however we have still been seeing quite a lot of wildlife getting around, I wouldn’t say that there has been a significant decrease.
Yes, I do believe their habitats are starting to recover, we are seeing lots of rapotos around over the last few weeks and the kangaroos are starting to come back into areas that were burnt out, there is also revegetation starting in most of the burnt-out areas.
The flora is starting to regenerate especially along the northern access track some of it is looking quite pretty at the moment as it is looking a lot like autumn,
We did have to adapt the tour route for the first few weeks however we are now running as normal again.
Depending on the tour but giving the example of our adventure tour, we would meet at the 4wd beach access track let down the tyres head up the beach stopping at Norfolk Lagoon (second lagoon) jump out have a look around viewing Flora & Fauna. Then we head up to Mermaid Lagoon (third) for a swim or just to take in the views. After this, we would drive up the beach to the WWII forts stopping along the way to view any animals or other points of interest e.g. dolphins, sea eagles, strange jellyfish etc. Once at the forts, we jump out and do a walk around the forts and up the beach giving a history run down along the way. After this we head inland over to our lunch destination (Poverty Creek) usually see kangaroos, wallabies, lace monitors etc have lunch then out to Gallaghers Point to take in views of the Glasshouse Mountains & the soldier crabs, then we return the guests to their original pickup location.
The animals come and go from the bush to the beach regularly, this has always been the case with Bribie Island. We often see kangaroos and wallabies down on the beach of the afternoon and in the early mornings.
Thankfully there was no damage to the Fort Bribie area, the only lagoon that had some effect was fourth (Welsby Lagoon) which was burnt all around the outside edge.
Don't forget, you can book a beach four-wheel-drive adventure with Jason today! Explore Bribie Island like you never have before, but remember to keep the area clean and do not disrupt any of the natural habitats.
Looking for more things to do and see? Pop into one of the region's Accredited Visitor Information Centres. The volunteers have a wealth of local knowledge.