Mango trees in flames

Mango trees in flames

25 August 2011

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Australia — A BUSHFIRE ripped through a mango orchard in Darwin’s rural area yesterday as the fire danger index again reached catastrophic.

Four helicopters bombed the inferno with water while firefighters and volunteers battled the blazes from the ground at Lambells Lagoon. They were unable to save a stretch of mango trees valued at $170 each at the orchard on Cain Rd.

Barry Albrecht, who owns the orchard next to the burnt property, said it was a terrible loss for the family.

“It will take another four years for these trees to recover,” Mr Albrecht said.

Bushfires NT director Steve Sutton said the blaze had been burning in bushland since Tuesday but flared up yesterday “in atrocious fire weather conditions”. It was contained within firebreaks yesterday afternoon but motorists were warned about reduced visibility on the Arnhem Highway.

Fires also burned through bushland at Marlows Lagoon, Bees Creek and Casuarina Coastal Reserve.

At Darwin Airport, a fire at the end of the runway which has been burning since Tuesday remained contained in swampland.

The fire index was expected to be downgraded to extreme in Darwin and severe in Katherine today.

A total fire ban continues through much of the Top End. The weather bureau warned conditions would make fires very dangerous.

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