Bungawalbin road closed by fire

THE Bungawalbin bushfire broke through a containment line yesterday afternoon, forcing the Rural Fire Service to close a section of Myall Creek Road.

The road has been closed between Quarry Road and Avenue Road for at least 24 hours.

RFS superintendent Rodney Brown said the spot fire started north-west of the main fire.

“There is very intense fire activity there now,” he said.

“We’ve had to close the road because we have a lot of vehicles over there and we need to keep the public away.”

Firefighters had hoped to have the blaze under control by yesterday afternoon.

But the fire has now burned more than 400ha of the 3700ha Bungalwalbin State Forest, south-east of Casino.

It is still not known whether it was deliberately lit.

The fire is now taking its toll on RFS crews, with one firefighter taken to hospital on Sunday suffering heat stress.

Supt Brown said the man was taken to hospital as a precaution and released soon after.

“They’re working 12-hour days. It’s a lot, especially when it’s 40 Celsius or more at the fire front,” he said.

“We’ve also had crews working until midnight each night.”

Cooler temperatures are forecast for today, and firefighters remain optimistic they will get the blaze under control.

Several homes at Bungawalbin Creek, about 2km from the fire front, were monitored over the weekend.

But Supt Brown said the danger period for those residents had passed. “We are now confident those home are secure. However, there are no guarantees when it comes to bushfires,” he said.

Fire crews were able to ease the fears of people in the Swan Bay/New Italy area who were wondering how close the fire was to them.

Bulldozers have been used to strengthen and consolidate containment lines, but the RFS has abandoned the use of a fixed-wing aircraft, which was used for water bombing on Sunday.

“It just wasn’t as effective as we had hoped,” Supt Brown said.

“However, that aircraft is remaining on standby at the Casino airport.”

About 60 bushfires are burning across NSW, with the Rural Fire Service sending out hundreds of firefighters in an effort to extinguish them.

Crews have saved hundreds of homes since a lightning storm and 40-degree temperatures earlier this month sparked a number of blazes, which at one point totalled more than 120.


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