WATCH & ACT: Bushfire spreading in 'multiple directions'
UPDATE, 2.45pm: THE Bangala Creek bushfire, north of Drake, has been upgraded to a Watch & Act level this afternoon.
The fire is burning north of Drake near Paddys Flat Road in the Pretty Gully and Stockyard Gully areas, and is spreading in "multiple directions", according to an RFS spokesman.
"Firefighters have been working to protect properties in the area," he said.
"A containment line is being established along the western edge of the fire in the River Tree area where active fire saw increased levels of smoke.
"In the east containment lines are being established from New Farm Rd to Hootons Rd, with back burning underway.
"It is likely that in the coming days the Bangala and Blue Gum fires will merge."
- If you are in the area of Paddys Flat Road near Pretty Gully and Stockyard Gully, monitor the conditions. Know what you will do if the fire approaches.
- If you are in the areas of Bonalbo, Old Bonalbo, Lower Duck Creek and Bottle Creek, monitor conditions.
- If you are in an area that has already been affected by fire, there may be small areas of active fire burning for some time. Be aware of the dangers of trees and branches falling.
- If your plan is to leave, leaving early is the safest option.
- If you are threatened by fire, do not be in the path of the fire.
- Protect yourself from the heat of the fire. Wear protective clothing and footwear. Cover all exposed skin.
- If the fire impacts, seek shelter in a solid structure to protect yourself from the heat of the fire.
- If your life is at risk, call Triple Zero (000).
UPDATE, 1.40pm: THE Rural Fire Service Northern Rivers Zone has issued an update on the Bangala Creek bushfire.
"Fire activity has increased in the south around Paddys Flat Road, in the areas of Pretty Gully and Stockman's Gully," a spokesman said.
"Residents should be prepared to take action as the fire approaches.
"Fire crews are preparing to conduct a tactical back burn in the area around Main Camp and River Tree, so expect increased smoke in the area as firefighters attempt to strengthen containment lines.
"If you are in an area that has already been affected by fire, be aware that you may experience some patches of active fire for some time.
"Be aware of falling trees and branches.
"If you are near Bonalbo, Old Bonalbo, Lower Duck Creek and Bottle Creek, continue to stay informed and monitor your local conditions."
UPDATE, 12.30pm: LIGHTNING strikes could bring additional hazards for firefighters battling to keep containment lines across the Northern Rivers today, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
BOM meteorologist Helen Reid confirmed there are possible thunderstorms forecast across the region this afternoon, but it ill all be noise and lightning, rather than much needed rain.
"Any thunderstorms will bring the risk of new ignitions from lightning strikes," she said.
"We do have the beginnings of cloud development up there but we are not expecting much rain, perhaps a few drops on the ground."
Ms Reid said temperature will not bring much relief to firefighters over the next couple of days,
"Our ongoing concerns are for thunderstorms without much rain," she said.
UPDATE, 10.50am: THE Rural Fire Service Northern Rivers Zone says crews are continuing to work on containing the Border Trail, Blue Gum, Bangala Creek, Mt Nardi and Myall Creek fires.
"However, today they will be tested by deteriorating fire conditions with a return to warmer temperatures, lower humidity and predominately northerly winds," the organisation posted on its Facebook page.
"Communities to the south east of the Blue Gum fire, and south of the Bangala Creek near Paddys Flat Road (south of Pretty Gully), should ensure they stay informed throughout the day and be prepared to act if the situation changes.
"Communities in the areas of Ashby and Ellangowan should be vigilant against the possibility of re-ignitions in recently burnt areas.
"With a forecast of thunderstorms for this afternoon bringing with it the risk of new ignitions from lightning strikes, it is important to be vigilant throughout the day and know what you will do to stay safe."
Original story: FIRES continue to burn across the Northern Rivers region, with firefighters battling more 1000km of active firefront.
A Rural Fire Service spokesman said hundreds of firefighters from a number of agencies were currently working to contain bushfires ahead of deteriorating conditions on Tuesday and Wednesday which are expected to challenge crews.
"We have firefighters on the ground from RFS, Fire & Rescue, Forestry NSW and National Parks as well as out of areas crews including South Australia, Western Australia and New Zealand," he said.
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He said crews operating heavy earthmoving equipment were also supporting fire crews.
Another major concern is falling trees, so the RFS is asking people to stay out of fire-affected areas and not use fire trails or back roads.
"A significant risk is that of falling trees and limbs," the spokesman said.
"On Sunday motorists were trapped on roads in Iluka and in the area of Coraki and Ellangowan."
On Monday morning a Watch & Act was issued for the Bangala fire after it increased around Paddys Flat Road, to the south of Pretty Creek.
The fire was affecting properties north of Drake near Paddys Flat Rd in the Pretty Gully and Stockyard Gully areas.
Firefighters, with the support of aircraft, were actively working in this area.
The western edge of the fire is now east of Main Camp Creek and residents to the west are experiencing an increase in smoke.
It is likely that in the coming days the Bangala and Blue Gum fires will merge.
Bushfire and drought assistance
• Farmers and small businesses affected by the bushfires can access recovery grants up to $15,000. Contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or raa.nsw.gov.au.
• The Disaster Recovery Payment provides $1000 for adults and $400 for children. Call 180 22 66.
• Anyone who's lost their income as a direct result of the bushfires, can apply for income support via the Disaster Recovery Allowance at www.humanservices.gov.au/disaster or by calling 180 22 66.
• The Farm Household Allowance (FHA), is there to help our farmers through periods of hardship, providing four years of income assistance. Call 180 22 66 or online at www.humanservices.gov.au/disaster
• For emergency fodder call the Agricultural & Animal Services hotline on 1800 814 647.