Sprinkle of rain over bushfire gives firies a breather

TUESDAY 10.50am: LAST night's sprinkle of rain over the bushfire near Evans Head has provided some relief for Rural Fire Service crews.

RFS operations officer, Inspector Daniel Ainsworth said the operation remains in "a holding pattern" today with firies stood down temporarily at the site due to the inability to back burn.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service teams are patrolling the bushfire today, extinguishing any stray flames alight around the 500ha fire ground.

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UPDATE 5.30pm: AN ARDUOUS fight continues on the fire front near Evans Head as crews face scorching temperatures, variable winds and tip toe-ing around unexploded ordinances.

The fire - which has more doubled in size to 500ha since yesterday morning - is expected to burn up to 2000ha later this week according to NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service area manager, John Fisher.

Mr Fisher described yesterday's operation as " a slow, laborious process" as crews tackled the northern end of the blaze with intensifying winds throughout the day.

Despite the tough fight, Mr Fisher said crews were victorious in achieving their main goal to keep the fire east of North Gate Rd, one of the main roads running through the Bundjalung National Park.

Simultaneously, air-bombers have worked to ease the fire's movement in the south near the Jerusalem Creek fire trail.

Mr Fisher expects the fire will be contained in the northern area of the Bundjalung National Park by tomorrow lunch time with the fire to be entirely contained by late Wednesday afternoon.  

 

UPDATE 4pm: AN EXPLOSIVE twist in the bushfire south of Evans Head has triggered the need for extra help in containing the blaze.

Dfence personnel have lent a hand to help crews combat the blaze in the fire-affected areas of the Evans Head Air Weapons Range, where unexploded ammunition and small, discarded blank bullets are scattered throughout the range.

The officer in charge at the range said defence personnel were assisting NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Rural Fire Service extinguish the inferno by helping crews navigate around the unexploded ammunition.

Flight Lieutenant Jason Van Rysbergen said there was a very good network of fire trails around the range providing opportunities for crews to back burn and access the blaze.

Lieut Van Rysbergen commended crews for their tremendous efforts and said "they're well ahead of the curb" in containing the bushfire.

NSW NPWS area manager, John Fisher, said crews had heard the blanks go off on charred areas on the range.

Unlike other areas of bushland, Mr Fisher said it was a "real challenge" for firefighters to battle the fire, restricted within safety track zones.

 

UPDATE 12.50pm: CAMPGROUNDS have been evacuated as a bushfire continues to ravage land south of Evans Head.

About 20 campers were relocated to Woody Head from the northern end of the Bundjalung National Park and Black Rocks National Park camping areas, according NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service area manager, John Fisher.

Mr Fisher said the impacted sites aren't expected to reopen until the weekend.

As peak camping season starts to ramp up, Mr Fisher said NPWS and working hard to ensure the popular camping areas are re-opened as soon as possible.

Shark Bay in the south is also open as an alternative for evacuated campers.

"We are really keen to ensure these sites reopen soon," Mr Fisher said.

He said the lack of substantial rain in recent weeks may spell a difficult summer for NPWS with the risk of bushfires heightened.

Mr Fisher said if an out-of-control campground fire could become "a nightmare" for surrounding areas and NPW .

"It's not the year to be reckless with fire," he said.

He said NPWS will continue to collaborate with the Rural Fire Service to update campers on fire safety and possible bans.

 

UPDATE 11.35am: FIRIES will harness windy weather in the coming days to contain an out-of-control bushfire south of Evans Head.

A fire-fighting army comprising of ten Rural Fire Service crews, seven national parks teams, defence force personnel and seven aircraft will be battling the fire from all sides in the common goal to have the blaze fully contained by end of day Wednesday.

North winds today and tomorrow will be utilised Rural Fire Service and National Parks crews to push the fire deeper into the northern and western sections of the blaze near Bombing Range Rd.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife area manager, John Fisher said burning out those areas is crucial to ensure the fire's containment and prevent its spread as southerly winds are expected to blow through the area on Wednesday.

The forecast southerly winds will again be used by crews to secure the southern boundary of the fire affected area.

Northern Rivers RFS operations officer, Inspector Daniel Ainsworth said crews are expecting "a hot, hard day ahead" but at this stage crews were progressing well. 

Insp Ainsworth said there will be a lot of smoke blowing to the south Evans Head later this afternoon and cautioned asmatics in particular to stay indoors where possible and follow instructions from their doctors.   

Mr Fisher said crews are progressing well in bringing the fire under control following the "very successful" deployment of the Southern Belle DC-10 water-bombing plane yesterday.

For more information on this fire, please visit the RFS website. 
 

Fire near Evans Head as captured by Von Pyne.
Fire near Evans Head as captured by Von Pyne.

MONDAY 6.20am: RESIDENTS are being warned by local firefighters that there is a great deal of fire risk today.

Today is a day of 'Very High' Fire Danger for the Northern Rivers, and as a result, all fire permits are suspended for 24 hours in the Kyogle, Lismore, and Richmond Valley council areas, the Kyogle Headquarters Rural Fire Brigade posted on Facebook.

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This happens as a number of bushfires continue to blaze on the Northern Rivers.

NSW RFS, RAAF and NPWS crews have worked on the fire south of Evans Head across the weekend, the NSW Rural Fire Service reported.

"The fire is yet to be contained and is likely to burn for a number of days," a statment from the RFS read.

"Whilst there is no threat to the town residents will continue to see and possibly smell smoke."

Fires are also listed at:

  • Upper Wilsons Creek (33ha) Being controlled
  • Rosebank (1ha) Under control
  • South Ballina (114ha) Under control
  • Tabbimoble (2058ha) Under control

For more information about fire safety and the current fires, visit the RFS website.



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