The QFES spokeswoman said 33 vehicles involved in the firefighting operations remained on the island and water-bombing would continue on Wednesday in isolated areas where needed.

The NSW large air tanker returned home on Tuesday after flying up on Monday morning to help the Queensland LAT and dozens of other smaller water-bombing aircraft.

The QFES spokeswoman said conditions had eased again on Wednesday after about 26mm of rain fell on Monday in Happy Valley – a town on the island that was in grave danger due to the fire on Monday.

She said Monday’s rain helped slow the spread of fires on Fraser Island, but it was by no means enough to extinguish the flames – more rain would be needed to do so.

QFES Assistant Commissioner John Bolger said the latest aerial surveillance indicated an estimated 87,000 hectares, out of the island’s total 184,000 hectares, had been burnt.

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“[The rain was] certainly welcome, but not quite enough to pull us out into the clear – that’s for sure, but it has certainly taken the sting out of the event,” he told ABC Radio Brisbane.

“We won’t see any reduction in firefighting activity on the island; you may see a little more because we will be using this break to reinforce those containment lines around villages on the island, to give the firies a little bit of optimism on the island.”

Assistant Commissioner Bolger said Wednesday would bring a reduction in temperature and a south-easterly wind change, but there would also be a small increase in humidity.

“Every time the wind changes, the fire direction changes, it’s been coming from the north for quite a few days,” he told ABC Radio Brisbane.

“In some areas, it might push the fire back onto itself, in other areas it could expose new fire fronts. We’re certainly not out of the fire danger period yet – it’s just slightly less with that welcomed rain.”

Several fire fronts remain on the World-Heritage-listed island 200 kilometres north of Brisbane, including near the Kingfisher Bay Resort and the communities of Happy Valley and The Oaks.

Christine Porter, the general manager of Sailfish on Fraser, said luck and the “excellent effort” of the 50 people who remained to fight the flames had been key to saving the Happy Valley community.

“The leaves from the fire – they were black but they weren’t embers – they gathered on the lawn and it’s a big tidy-up today,” Ms Porter said.

“We’re cleaning up the ash and everything.”

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