Lightning strikes, campers evacuated

BREAKING 3.23pm: CAMPERS have been evacuated from Blackdown Tableland National Park due to a wildfire started by lightning strikes.

Today Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Acting Regional Manager Capricornia Mike Griinke said the fire in the north-western part of the park started during storms on Wednesday night.

The National Park between Emerald and Rockhampton has been closed until at least January 20.

"Public safety is our top priority," Mr Griinke said.

"Blackdown Tableland is a vast, rugged area, almost 48,000 hectares, but this fire is near the campground and other facilities so we need to close the park untill the fire risk decreases.

"Yesterday (Thursday) three groups of campers were asked to leave due to the threat posed by the wildfire.

"We have also notified any campers with bookings.

"At this stage we plan to reopen bookings on 20 January. Campers should call 13 QGOV (13 7468) for advice or check park alerts at www.derm.qld.gov.au.

"QPWS crews are attending the fire and undertaking backburning operations.

"Blackdown Tableland neighbours who may be affected by the fire have been notified and will backburn as required to protect their grazing properties.

"Other wildfires have been burning in parts of the park since late December and QPWS has put in a major effort to control those.

"Storms on 11 January brought some rain but also the new fire at Blackdown Tableland, and a fire at nearby Taunton National Park.

"The Taunton fire has been contained by Rural Fires crews.

"No visitors were involved at Taunton, as this scientific national park is not open to the public," Mr Griinke said.
 



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