AS residents from Binna Burra and Beechmont begin to take stock of the damage caused by the Sarabah bushfire, the Queensland Police Service has announced the creation of a special taskforce to investigate fires burning across the state.
Scenic Rim mayor Greg Christensen said today that the final damage tally had yet to be determined.
"What we have confirmed is that 11 houses have been lost, five commercial structures including those at Binna Burra and three houses have been severely damaged," he said.
"There are also a lot of other structures like chicken coops and shed affected."
At a press briefing in Canungra this morning, Assistant Police Commissioner Ben Marcus said the Sarabah fire was first reported by trail bike riders but it was unknown precisely how the fire started.
"What we do know is that there are a number of people across the state who are not exercising prudent care with fires," he said.
"People are still throwing cigarette butts out the window, people are still operating grinders and still producing ignition sources.
"Now is the time for everyone to exercise extreme care with any source of ignition.
"We will be investigating fires across the state and this one won't be any different."
QPD said Taskforce Overcross would incorporate investigative, intelligence and other specialist resources as required.
Commissioner Katarina Carroll said as part of the task force, the QPS State Crime Command would coordinate all investigations into suspicious fires around the state.
"Taskforce Overcross will be proactive in working to prevent deliberately or recklessly lit fires," she said.
"Some of the fires could be down to carelessness or a misunderstanding of conditions. However, it appears other fires have been deliberately lit with the intention of causing damage or worse.
"Arson is a very serious offence that can lead to life imprisonment and police will be relentless in investigating any suspicious fires.
"The community is asked to work with authorities to prevent fires. In these dangerous conditions please do not use equipment which could risk sparking a fire.
"Anyone who either inadvertently or deliberately starts a fire is putting life and property at significant risk," Commissioner Carroll said.
If you have information for police, contact Policelink on 131 444 or provide information using the online form 24hrs per day.
You can report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers, a registered charity and community volunteer organisation, by calling 1800 333 000 or via crimestoppersqld.com.au 24hrs per day.
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