David Nielsen

Homes saved by firefighters

HER LAPTOP computer was the only thing Lisa Blackburn had time to grab when her husband, Tony, woke her at 11.40pm on Monday after he discovered flames licking at the back fence of their Lynches Creek rental property.

Mrs Blackburn woke her two sons, Ryan, 4, and Ben, 6, and dashed from their home to take refuge at a neighbour’s while her husband assisted firefighters Richard Phillips and Dean Carbery, from the Wiangaree unit of the Rural Fire Service, put out the flames.

Mr Blackburn had been helping neighbours backburn throughout the day and was monitoring the fire when he decided to put the family’s bushfire survival plan into action by evacuating his wife and children.

Yesterday, 550ha between Lynches Creek and Gradys Creek on Mt Lion was still ablaze. Lynches Creek old-timer Malcolm Palmer said the ridge had not burned for about 25 years.

Firefighters spent the morning monitoring the fire, which was burning mostly in high rugged country.

“You have to wait until it comes down out of the trees to where you can fight the fire,” RFS group captain Ian Rodgers said.

When the winds picked up late yesterday afternoon that is exactly what the firefighters did, saving as many as 10 homes at Gradys Creek and Fernhill Drive.

One farmer, grateful her home had been saved, said she had lost all the feed for her herd of 50 cattle.

Yesterday, numerous fires burned across the region with 32 hectares burning at Doneden, 453ha at Jacky Bulbin Flat, 700ha at Cudgen, 260ha at The Pinnacle, 10ha at Fern Beach, 25ha at Mills Road, near Kyogle, and 3ha at Bargo Creek, south of Casino.

There were also fires at Bean Creek, near Urbenville, Tunglebung, Burts Trail, south of Casino, and at the cemetery in Eviron Road, 5km north-east of Murwillumbah.

At Tenterfield more than 2000ha was still burning last night.

The Pacific Highway, north of Iluka, was closed late last night as winds picked up, blowing embers across the highway.

Firefighters said that spot fires created by the flying embers were under control.

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