NSW battling more than 100 fires

NSW battling more than 100 fires

23 October 2012

published by www.theaustralian.com.au

Australia– AS more than 100 bushfires burned across NSW, the state’s rural fire chief has issued a fresh warning to residents to prepare for a perilous fire season.

About 1000 firefighters were battling the blazes on Tuesday, including on the NSW north coast where 30,000 hectares was scorched.

“It is clear that this fire season arrived early, and with hotter, drier weather predicted, people need to get ready now, not later,” NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.

“Our firefighters can’t do it alone; they need people to be prepared.

“Less than three weeks into the season, Rural Fire Service volunteers have already attended 373 fires, compared to 180 in the same period last year.”

Sheep and cattle have been killed and fences, sheds, tractors and power lines destroyed, he said in a statement.

The RFS estimates that over the last weekend alone, when 1000 RFS volunteers battled more than 100 fires, more than $1 million of damage was sustained across NSW.

That included around 22,000 hectares of valuable pasture burnt in the state’s north.

Mr Fitzsimmons urged people to download a bushfire survival plan and talk to their families about how to handle a bushfire.

“That discussion could save their lives, home or livelihoods,” he said.

On Tuesday around 80 firefighters were putting in containment lines in the Macleay River region of the state’s north, where a bushfire has burnt through 30,000 hectares of land.

The RFS said no properties were under direct threat after a southerly wind change on Monday helped push the blaze away from homes in the Lower Creek area.

RFS spokesman Ben Shepherd told AAP that temperatures were predicted to rise over the next day or two and that would boost fire activity.

At Taree on the NSW mid north coast 77 firefighters assisted by six aircraft were battling a blaze that has burnt more than 3800 hectares around Knorrit State Forest.

There was no immediate threat to communities and more favourable conditions for firefighting were expected on Wednesday.

About 30 fires continued to burn in the state’s far west, although none are threatening homes.

A grassfire at Allawah north of Bourke had burnt through 15,500 hectares, killed up to 60 cattle and around 200 sheep and scorched about 50km of fencing.

In the Clarence Valley a fire at Inglebar has burnt through 2000 hectares and another near Ramornie had gone through 2500 hectares, but neither threatened homes.

Firefighters there were continuing to build containment lines before strong winds predicted for later in the week, Mr Shepherd said.



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