Fires contained as disaster declared

THREE separate fires burning out of control south-west of Casino since the weekend have been contained, the Clarence Valley Rural Fire District reports.

The Dubadar Creek fire, which was believed to have been started by arsonists before blowing out from 50ha to 300ha on Saturday, was contained on Sunday and was extinguished at midday today, the district's incident controller Stuart Watts said.

Two separate blazes, also deliberately lit, at Mt Pickabooba 4km from the Dubadar Creek fire were expected to be contained by this afternoon following back-burning, Mr Watts said. The Rural Fire Service had 10 fire trucks, 19 personnel and two bulldozers working to bring the fires under control on the weekend.

The Northern Star has approached the police for comment.

The battle with the blazes come as NSW Police and Emergency Services Minister Michael Gallacher declared natural disasters for the Mid North Coast - parts of which only a year ago were receiving the same declaration for floods - and New England areas.

"The main focus of this declaration is the Macleay River Fire, which developed on 21 October 2012 as the culmination of the Fred's Creek and Georges Junction Fires," Mr Gallacher said in a written statement.

"These fires have been burning in the area for a number of days and due to the conditions, they merged into one large fire, jumped containment lines and threatened numerous properties.

"Firefighters have been working hard to create containment lines around the Macleay River Fire to protect properties as the fire approaches.

"As of 1 November 2012, the Macleay River Fire continues to burn and is estimated to have damaged over 51,000 hectares of National Parks, State Forests and private land across the three LGA's of Armidale Dumaresq, Walcha and Kempsey.

"The Macleay River Fire has damaged significant portions of the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, which is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, a series of protected areas which were first inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1986 and extended in 1994."

If you see an unattended bushfire, call 000 immediately.

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