ON THURSDAY June 20, I watched as a huge pall of smoke arose from the south eastern corner of Whitsunday Island and then proceeded to engulf adjacent Hamilton Island.
This came from dozens of spot fires deliberately lit by an aerial fire bombing operation presumably carried out under instructions from some government department.
As the fires spread and with nowhere to escape, one can only imagine the dramatic effect these intense burning operations must have on the islands' wildlife - those protected species such as wallabies, curlews, sea eagles, etc which make their home on our beautiful islands.
The same thing happened at this time last year when large sections of the uninhabited Hazelwood, North Molle and Henning islands were incinerated.
A similar operation carried out on Lizard Island a few years ago in over 25 knot winds got out of control and very nearly succeded in burning down the island's resort while devastating the local goanna population.
National park signs on the islands warn visitors not to light fires and yet these fire bombing operations would do more damage in one day than an army of visitors and their camp fires could ever do.
Here we have on the one hand, the Gillard government taxing us for emitting carbon dioxide, etc and on the other hand a different government department doing its best to pollute the atmosphere and blanket the adjacent islands in a dense cloud of smoke and ash.
Quite a few local residents are struggling to understand the rationale behind some faceless bureaucrat deciding to try to improve on the ecological balance that has taken Mother Nature thousands of year to perfect. Rob Craigie HAMILTON ISLAND