Bushfire set to worsen according to weekend weather predictions

Australia:  Firefighters maintain NSW back-burning operation

30 December 2001

Source and Copyright: ABC News Online

Firefighters across New South Wales are preparingfor another night of back-burning to try to contain 70 fires still burning across the state. 

Five blazes believed to have been lit by arsonists today are burning towards the town ofAppin, to Sydney’s south-west.
In the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, heavy waterbombing is underway to try to stopa blaze reaching properties around Kurrajong.
And in the state’s south, a fire south of Nowra continues to burn unchecked.Crews will work to put containment lines in place tonight before forecast westerly windstomorrow.

Rural Fire Service spokesman John Winter says while firefighters have expressed reliefthat the horrible weather conditions forecast for today did not eventuate there is also anelement of frustration.
“The weather has not been overly conducive to back-burning, meaning that you wouldonly use it as a last resort for property defence,” he said.
“The crews have therefore been treading water by and large in the majority of fires.”We’d looked forward to tonight to being able to implement major back-burning strategies.”

The New South Wales Government says it will not oppose an Opposition move to establish an inquiry into the Christmas bushfires.
But Emergency Services Minister Bob Debus says the Opposition’s call could have waiteduntil after the fire crisis was over. Mr Debus says it is a “tacky” move to politicise the crisis while firefighters are battlingblazes. 
“With budget increases of around about 130 per cent for both the Rural Fire Service andthe National Parks and Wildlife Service and a very recent Upper House inquiry endorsing the Government’s direction for management of the Rural Fire Service, andspecifically endorsing the National Parks approach to strategic hazard reduction, I don’tthink the Government’s got a lot to be concerned about,” he said.


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