Ecologist sizes up fire's impact as crews monitor scene
FIRE crews are continuing to monitor a fire burning on the Tweed Coast as the impact on Kings Forest wildlife is assessed.
The blaze was sparked by a vehicle fire at the end of Depot Rd, which quickly spread to nearby grass and bushland about 10.45am yesterday.
Tweed Byron Police District officers said the elderly male driver was taken to hospital for assessment after the incident.
Police said the driver had been on Depot Rd to inspect a property which he leases when his car burst into flames.
He was believed to have suffered from a medical condition which was not related to the fire.
The cause of the fire inside the vehicle is still being investigated.
Incident controller and Tweed Coast Rural Fire Brigade captain Jared Lee said the fire - which has burnt through about 120 hectares - was now "fully contained" but would continue to smoulder for several days.
"The fire is fully contained," Mr Lee said.
"We've only got two RFS units here patrolling throughout the day.
"Our containment lines are very strong at the moment."
He said a small amount of rain which hit the region this morning would likely help their efforts to extinguish the fire.
"It'll continue to smoulder within containment lines for a couple of days, so local residents can expect a little bit of smoke to hang around," he said.
Meanwhile, he said some local RFS crews had recently travelled to Narrabri to assist with a large fire there.
But he said this had not hampered their efforts at Kings Forest, with help coming from as far afield as Wardell along with Burringbar and Uki.
Despite a sprinkle of rain today, he urged residents to continue to be aware of ongoing fire risks.
"It is still dry (but) hopefully we get some significant rain," Mr Lee said.
A spokesman for Leda Holdings, the developer that owns the Kings Forest site across which most of the fire burned, said they had done all they could to assist firefighters in accessing the property.
He said they had also immediately dispatched an ecologist "to see if any wildlife needed assistance".
"He didn't see at that point any wildlife in distress," the spokesman said.
The spokesman said the fire did not appear to have affected any existing koala habitat.
"We will continue to monitor things and will send an ecologist to check again if needed," he said.
"We will keep an eye out and if we see any wildlife in distress we will act immediately."
The Kings Forest development is subject to a comprehensive koala plan of management following extensive lobbying from koala activists.