Fire may be act of ar­son­ist

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS -

AN 80-hectare bush­fire burn­ing for five days close to Won­gawal­lan could have been de­lib­er­ately lit, say fire in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

More than 70 ru­ral fire­fight­ers from as far as Gat­ton have been bat­tling the blaze day and night.

Gold Coast Ru­ral Fire Brigade group of­fi­cer Sam Eitz said although still un­con­firmed, it was pos­si­ble the bush­fire, which be­gan at Cedar Creek on Tues­day, was sus­pi­cious.

“Ev­ery vol­un­teer fire­fighter, we don’t like to hear or see of th­ese things hap­pen­ing,” he said. “We think no one should be out light­ing fires.”

Mr Eitz said the past days had been spent put­ting con­tain­ment lines in at prop­er­ties close to Lanes Rd, El­e­va­tion Dr and Up­per Coomera Rd around Won­gawal­lan us­ing doz­ers and drotts.

He said larger fire en­gines hold­ing up to 3000L were also used as there was no retic­u­lated wa­ter avail­able and dor­mant fire trails had been re­opened.

He­li­copters also wa­ter­bombed the area through­out the week.

Yes­ter­day af­ter­noon fire­fight­ers fi­nally man­aged to fin­ish the con­trol lines so that the blaze could burn out safely.

Mr Eitz said while the fire was not truly un­der con­trol just yet, he ex­pected this to change once it had burnt out to the con­tain­ment lines.

“I’m quite con­fi­dent it will stay like that over the week­end,” he said. “At this stage there’s po­ten­tial burn­ing in pock­ets un­til next week, due to the na­ture of the ter­rain.”

Mr Eitz said they could now start scal­ing back the num­ber of fire­fight­ers on the job, although a “pres­ence” would re­main on site. WHEN it comes to Aus­tralian Rules, Piper Phe­lan re­ally is in a league of her own.

The Palm Beach 12-yearold has made his­tory as the first girl to win the Gold Coast’s Troy Clarke Player of the Year award after re­ceiv­ing more “best and fairest” votes than any player – in any age group or com­pe­ti­tion – in the re­gion.

It is the cul­mi­na­tion of a jour­ney that started at a Palm Beach Cur­rumbin Lions club sign-on day seven years ago when she re­fused to leave un­til her dad let her play.

Now after a year which saw the his­toric launch of the AFL Women’s com­pe­ti­tion, Piper, in Year 7 at Palm Beach Cur­rumbin High School, has set her sights on fol­low­ing her new he­roes into the sport as a ca­reer.

“I would love to play in the AFLW one day,” she said.

Piper spent most of her early years play­ing against boys and now in her sec­ond year of girls-only com­pe­ti­tion, she has flour­ished.

Pic­ture: NIGEL HALLETT

Palm Beach Cur­rumbin‘s Piper Phe­lan with fel­low footy-lov­ing sis­ters Meeka, 6, and Bella, 11.

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