The Rural Fire Service is confident it is gaining control over fires like this one at Paddys Flat Road, near Old Bonalbo.
The Rural Fire Service is confident it is gaining control over fires like this one at Paddys Flat Road, near Old Bonalbo. Jacklyn Wagner

Heatwave is Firies next big test

FIREFIGHTERS are finally getting a rest and are confident massive containment operations carried out in the past week around Paddys Flat, near Old Bonalbo, will withstand the expected return of heatwave conditions and north-west winds today.

Superintendent Rodney Brown, of the Northern Rivers Rural Fire Service, said firefighters were consolidating control lines yesterday and aerial water-bombing any last hot spots.

The RFS is using FLIR (Forward-Looking-Infrared) technology to locate hot spots, rather than starting more back-burns at this stage.

“Because of the isolated nature of the fires the edges are dormant, so we test them with the FLIR machine as hot spots could re-ignite,” he said.

The hot spots are then strategically water-bombed.

“The main focus now is the fires at Clarkes, near Drake, along the Cataract River and stretching west,” Supt Brown said.

The Paddys Flat operations are close to being wrapped up with patrols now just monitoring the situation. “Most of the ground troops are at Clarkes extinguishing fire edges,” Supt Brown said.

“We have predictions of 36 degrees for Friday and more wind, but there are predictions further out of rain all over the place, and the cyclone in north-west WA is sending cooler weather our way. That could give us a few days of moisture.

“These fires were started by lightening two weeks ago and we are worried some could still join up, especially along the Queensland border and up to the Tablelands.”



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An RFS crew sheltered in their truck as the grass fire overcame them

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