The aftermath of a blaze near Mount Whitsunday Drive was capture by a drone owned by the Whitsunday Regional Council. Picture: Supplied
The aftermath of a blaze near Mount Whitsunday Drive was capture by a drone owned by the Whitsunday Regional Council. Picture: Supplied

Drone footage reveals extent of Airlie Beach blaze

DRONE footage has revealed the extent of a fire in Airlie Beach that has been monitored by crews for four days.

The blaze broke out on a central Airlie Beach property about noon on Monday.

Crews battled the fire near Mount Whitsunday Drive with the help of a waterbombing helicopter.

QFES crews began aerial mapping on Thursday with the help of Whitsunday Regional Council.

Council officers flew a DJI Matrice drone with visual and thermal cameras over the site of the fire.

The drone has a thermal imaging camera used to scan the area for smouldering hot spots. Picture: Supplied
The drone has a thermal imaging camera used to scan the area for smouldering hot spots. Picture: Supplied

The camera gave an indication of the size of the area damaged in the blaze as well as live surface temperatures of the land.

The trial flight also helped to scan the area for smouldering hot spots, which could later be used to direct water bombers and identify locations for further inspection.

Whitsunday Regional Council natural resource management and climate co-ordinator Scott Hardy said the drone would be used in collaboration with QFES for future blazes.

Smoke from the vegetation blew over the town on Monday. Picture: Elyse Wurm
Smoke from the vegetation blew over the town on Monday. Picture: Elyse Wurm

“They were interested to find out whether the fire was out in quite difficult areas to access,” he said.

“Unfortunately, it can’t drop water on the fire but it can tell you whether it’s worth dropping water on a particular area.”

Mr Hardy estimated the fire was about 10 hectares and said QFES crews were still mapping the area.

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A QFES spokeswoman said crews spent the morning monitoring the fire and dampening hot spots.

After a perimeter check, the land was handed back to the owners about noon.

However, crews continued to monitor the area again about 3pm after more smoke was seen coming from the land.


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