Brigades on high alert

A ROAD was closed and at least eight homes were under threat last night, as a bushfire raged towards the village of Tanglewood.

The flames flared in the Cudgen Creek Reserve, and were being helped along by strong winds and high temperatures.

All fire permits are cancelled and a very high fire danger has been declared as the NSW Rural Fire Service braces for more adverse fire conditions across the region.

Yesterday, the drought index for the Richmond Valley reached 178 out of 200. It has not been this dry since 2002.

“All over it’s very dry,” RFS Superintendent Boyd Townsend said.

Thousands of hectares of bushland were ablaze yesterday in the Tenterfield, Richmond Valley, Kyogle, Byron, Clarence Valley and Tweed local government areas.

A massive Firebird 296 helicopter was flown up from Coffs Harbour to fire bomb 18 hectares of rocky country in the Toonumbar National Park, near Kyogle.

Capable of holding 500 litres of water, the helicopter bombed the fire at six to seven-minute intervals all day.

A lightening strike during a dry storm on Saturday is believed to be responsible for the fire.

Bureau of Meteorology climatologist Clinton Rakich said El Nino conditions had strengthened and looked like they would persist until autumn.

This would bring warmer than average temperatures and drier conditions, he said.

In Northern NSW there is a 45 per cent chance of a return to normal rain conditions during December.

A maximum temperature of 38 degrees Celsius is forecast for Lismore today.

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