The Gospers Mountain mega blaze that has burned for weeks has now confirmed as having destroyed 96 homes, but residents are being urged to be cautious as a new range of hazards emerges.
According to the Building Impact Assessment team field co-ordinator, Bruce Cameron, “There were 96 homes destroyed and 1497 homes saved.”
“There were nine facilities (businesses and shops) destroyed and 209 outbuildings (including garages, art studios and caravans) destroyed, while 1061 were saved.”
While there were no fatalities, the clean-up effort is now being hindered by fire-affected buildings that contain asbestos and water quality concerns to public health.
BIA teams check for hazardous materials associated with the fire-damaged areas, including power lines, solar panels, gas mains and bottles, sewage, respiratory irritant, bulk flammable liquids, chemicals, copper chrome arsenic (CAA) treated timber, dangerous trees, structure instability, sharps and fall hazards and asbestos.
“About 60 per cent of the places they’ve looked at have been suspected asbestos; that will probably come back 40 per cent after testing,” Mr Hansen said with reference to the Gospers fire area.
“It’s a public health concern and that’s why our teams spray glue on it, to try and stabilise it.
“If asbestos is identified, the owners will need to speak with their insurer or, if they’re uninsured, the Public Works Advisory.”