Widespread bushfire deliberately lit
IT IS believed two bushfires burning to the east of Grafton were started by arson.
An out-of-control fire in Yuraygir National Park had burnt about 2015 hectares between Sandon and Minnie Water when NSW Rural Fire Service issued a report at 3.40pm yesterday.
A second, contained, fire in Candole State Forest to the west had burnt about two hectares.
NSW Rural Fire Service Clarence District manager Superintendent Stuart Watts said the fires were being treated as suspicious.
"Investigations will be carried out in the locations where they were first reported," Supt Watts said.
"By the time we could get ground crews in there on Monday morning the heat had picked up and the fire took a substantial run on Monday afternoon with the strong northeast wind," he said.
More than 25 firefighters and five aircraft were deployed to contain the Yuraygir fire.
Intense heat and strong north-easterly winds continued to fan the fire late yesterday as crews prepared for a night of consolidating containment lines.
"National Parks and RFS crews are working on containment along the southern part of the fire," Supt Watts said.
"Backburning operations have commenced in those areas, and will go into tonight and tomorrow," he said.
NPWS has closed Illaroo camping ground and closed the back track between Minnie Water and Sandon due to operations in the area. Beach access between the two villages is open with people advised to check tidal conditions.
The fire has produced thick smoke, reported as far away as Port Macquarie. People with health issues are advised to take appropriate precautions to protect themselves from smoke.
While no properties are under immediate threat, people living in the area should ensure their homes are appropriately prepared.
Visit www.rfs.nsw.gov.au or call 1800 NSW RFS for the latest updates.
If you need to report a new fire or require urgent assistance, dial Triple Zero (000).
Hot weather is set to continue with temperatures predicted to rise to 40 degrees in Grafton on Thursday.
For updated information about the fires visit http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/fire-information/fires-near-me.