100 crews battle Blue Mountains bushfire

100 crews battle Blue Mountains bushfire 

24 October 2011

published by www.tvnz.co.nz

Australia — More than 100 Australian fire fighters and a water bombing helicopter are battling a blaze in the NSW Blue Mountains that has forced the evacuation of homes and a school.

The immediate threat to homes had passed, Rural Fire Service spokeswoman Caroline Rembridge said.

However fire crews are racing to contain the fire, that broke out near Katoomba Street and Cliff Drive in Katoomba this afternoon, ahead of an expected southerly change around midnight.

Rembridge said the fire was late this afternoon burning in the valley behind the evacuated homes, making it inaccessible for firefighters.

The spokeswoman said about half a dozen homes had been evacuated as well as some 450 students from Katoomba High School who were relocated to a local cinema.

Weather conditions had made it difficult to fight the fire, she said.

“It was very windy, very hot, there were embers travelling in a north easterly direction, we were seeing winds today of around 30- 40 kilometres, these are challenges for the firefighters,” she said.

“The priority at the moment, they’re trying to contain the fire down in the valley behind the homes before we get the southerly change around midnight tonight.”

The popular Scenic Skyway remains shut because of the fire.

The fire is believed to have started in the bush below the old caravan park and travelled up the escarpment towards homes.

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