Shock finding in bushfire investigation

QUEENSLAND Police know what ignited the disastrous fires which destroyed 11 properties inland of the Gold Coast last month, but have refused to release the information publicly.

Investigations by Task Force Overcross confirmed the fires in the Scenic Rim were started accidentally - not by arsonists which Commissioner Katarina Carroll suggested was a possibility last month.

Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll visiting Binna Burra after the fires. Picture: Nigel Hallett
Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll visiting Binna Burra after the fires. Picture: Nigel Hallett

"We will be relentless in pursuing whoever it was who lit the fire, not just here but across the state," she said at the time. "We have a number of people we are looking at and this investigation will continue until we have an outcome."

But now police have identified who accidentally ignited the fire however no charges will be laid.

State Crime Command would not provide more information on the source of ignition.

Police would only say the blaze was caused by "accidental initiation of fire impacted by adverse weather conditions".

Prime Minister Scott Morrison inspecting a burnt out property at Binna Burra on September 13. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
Prime Minister Scott Morrison inspecting a burnt out property at Binna Burra on September 13. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

In a follow-up call, a police media spokeswoman could not provide further details and said any article referring to the accident and the withholding of information would be a "beat-up".

Meanwhile, the public remains in the dark about what caused the fire which wrought havoc on the tight-knit community.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) said the investigation into the fires was in the hands of police and redirected questions.

 

One the fires raging near Sarabah last month. Picture: Bonogin Valley Rural Fire Brigade
One the fires raging near Sarabah last month. Picture: Bonogin Valley Rural Fire Brigade

Police said in a statement: "Concerning the Canungra/Beechmont/Binna Burra fire, as a result of inquiries and investigations it was determined the actions of identified persons accidentally caused the fire".

"A prosecution will not be commenced against those persons," it read.

"Police and members of Task Force Overcross continue to work collaboratively with stakeholder partners including the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services to co-ordinate activities to prevent, disrupt and investigate suspicious fires across Queensland."

The statement said "a number of the fires have been deliberately or recklessly set by adults and school aged children" across the state.

The community banded together in the face of the frightening natural disaster. Picture: Bonogin Valley Rural Fire Brigade
The community banded together in the face of the frightening natural disaster. Picture: Bonogin Valley Rural Fire Brigade

"A number of these fires have been lit in grass and bushland, which in some cases has caused significant property damage," the statement read.

There was no suggestion that was the case in the Scenic Rim.

The taskforce found 23 of the recent bushfires statewide were believed to have been deliberately or carelessly lit, the ABC has reported.

Police have asked parents and carers to speak to their children about the consequences of lighting fires.