South coast bushfires escalate, residents warned

South coast bushfires escalate, residents warned

29 January 2009

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Australia — The New South Wales Rural Fire Service says two large bushfires are continuing to burn in the state’s south.

A bushfire in isolated country on the New South Wales far south coast has taken a turn for the worse, and residents in nearby towns have been told to fire-proof their properties.

Wyndham, west of Pambula, looks more like a war zone than a sleepy holiday town, as water bombing helicopters tackle a fire burning since the weekend.

Yesterday, the low humidity allowed the blaze to escalate, increasing from 25 hectares to more than 100.

Home owners at Wyndham, Burragate and Lochiel have been told to secure their properties if conditions continue to worsen today.

The Rural Fire Service’s John Cullen is worried about how he is going to fight the fire.

“Water is at a premium at the moment because of the dry weather,” he said.

Specially trained crews have been brought in from the ACT to assist in containing the blaze.

Big blaze

The biggest fire is burning in the Budawang National Park about 30 kilometres north-west of Batemans Bay.

The fire was sparked by a lightning strike more than a week ago and has now burnt out nearly 2,000 hectares.

Nine water bombing helicopters and nearly 100 firefighters on the ground worked to contain the blaze overnight.

Tim Carroll from the Shoalhaven Rural Fire Service says despite the fire spreading, it is staying with containment lines.

“The north western section of the fire looks like it’s blacked out reasonably well and we’ll be patrolling that area in the days to come,” he said.

“The areas of concern to us is where there’s a number of hot spots, which have been identified by the forward looking infra-red cameras.”

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