RAAF crews help fight Evans Head bushfire
ROYAL Australian Air Force personnel pitched in yesterday to help contain a blaze sparked by RAAF bombing practice on the Evans Head bombing range on Thursday.
The fire came within two kilometres of the Black Rocks camping area, south of Evans Head, forcing the evacuation of up to 35 campers.
Rural Fire Service volunteers escorted 35 campers from the remote camp ground, located about 20km into the Bundjalung National Park.
Northern Rivers Rural Fire Service manager Michael Brett said the evacuation was carried out as a safety precaution when Gap Road, the only access road to the camp ground, was threatened by fire.
Yesterday, the RAAF, National Parks and Wildlife Service staff and 40 Rural Fire Service crews battled to contain the fire, which had burned out 350 hectares of bushland by mid-morning.
With a light westerly wind blowing for most of the day, the firefighters concentrated on back-burning a strip of land directly to the eastern side of an access road running north-south through the park.
Mr Brett said a south-easterly wind change expected late yesterday would then force the fire on the back-burned area, containing it between Evans Head, the campground and the access road.
Water-bombing aircraft ran continuously between Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome and the fire front throughout yesterday.
Black Rocks campground and the Bundjalung National Park remain closed until the fire is extinguished.
The RAAF failed to respond to questions about whether it would change its practice bombing schedule in the wake of the fire and the extent of its liability if private property was damaged by the fire.