An environmental demonstrator was accused of unlawfully igniting property in Central Queensland’s Isaac region.
Coedie McAvoy recently shared a social media post of himself standing near a bushfire. Smoke could be seen rising hundreds of metres into the air at the Carmichael Coal Mine, 160km northwest of Clermont.
“Good morning, [it is] day 652 here in Wangan country. Ooh yeah, light it up, let’s go,” he said in a video.
Bravus Mining and Resources claimed the anti-fossil fuel activist used a butane torch to start the uncontrolled blaze on 8 June 2023. There was no evidence of a valid permit, water truck, fire break and other controls.
The fire allegedly spread within 3.5km of the mine airstrip where about 43,000 litres of “extremely” flammable aviation fuel was stored. The Labona accommodation village was just 4km away where 500 employees stayed.
“That is reckless and dangerous behaviour. The reality is had the wind changed this fire could have killed someone. This fire could have destroyed not only mine infrastructure but [also] hundreds of hectares of pastoral land, livestock, fences, homesteads and cattle yards,” a spokesperson said in a public statement.
The proponent reported the incident to the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES), and requested an urgent meeting with commissioner Greg Leach. It is also considering whether to take civil legal action due to the risk to life and livelihood.
“Enough is enough, it is time the authorities used the powers readily available to them under the law and removed Mr McAvoy and his activist mates from [occupying] our mining lease,” the spokesperson said.
QFES requires fires to be positioned in cleared areas where there are no overhanging branches and minimal grass and scrub. Blazes must be kept a “safe distance” from ignition sources and structures, and smaller than two metres in “all directions” without a permit.
“QFES is currently looking into the circumstances around a vegetation fire that it responded to in Belyando on 9 June 2023. Any relevant information gathered will be provided to the Queensland Police Service for its consideration,” a spokesperson told QMEB.