Two men have been sentenced over last year’s Fraser Island bushfire. Photo: Contributed.
Two men have been sentenced over last year’s Fraser Island bushfire. Photo: Contributed.

NAMED: Fraser Island fire starter expresses remorse

In a heartfelt letter to the court, a man who lit a campfire that started a blaze that scorched half of Fraser Island said he wished he could undo what he had done.

Liam Gregory Cheshire, 24, pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful lighting of a fire and leaving a fire unattended.

The Warwick man did not appear at Hervey Bay Magistrates Court in person but the charges were dealt with in his absence.

Police prosecutor Sonia Edwards said the fire was lit by Cheshire using vegetation and sticks from the surrounding area on October 14 last year.

Four men, including Cheshire, and a teenager, remained by the fire overnight.

The next day he covered the fire with sand and left believing he had extinguished it.

However the site remained hot and embers ignited nearby vegetation.

The fire came to the attention of park rangers later that day.

An inquiry is now underway investigating the management of the resulting bushfire that raged for weeks and tore through about 87,000 hectares on Fraser Island.

Snr Const Edwards said there was no suggestion the damage resulting from the campfire was deliberate.

The court heard Cheshire made frank admissions about lighting the fire.

In a letter to the court, Cheshire said he was embarrassed and remorseful for his actions.

He stated he sincerely believed he had extinguished the fire.

Cheshire said he had learned a lesson and hoped he could move on and continue to be a contributing member of society.

Cheshire was fined $1334 and no conviction was recorded.

Dominic Glynn Mcgahan, another member of the group, also pleaded guilty to lighting a fire and was fined $667 with no conviction recorded.

Two others charged in relation to the fire, Travis Robert Lowe and Lachlan James Brown, had their matters adjourned.