Allen Wallbridge (left) and Danny Broeder, try to contain a fire in a state forest near Rappville yesterday.
Allen Wallbridge (left) and Danny Broeder, try to contain a fire in a state forest near Rappville yesterday. David Nielsen

Firefighters race to tame fires

FIREFIGHTERS have less than 48 hours to get in fire breaks and conduct back-burning before the arrival of bad fire weather, forecast for Thursday.

Of most concern is the Clarkes fire which has crossed over from Tenterfield into the Northern Rivers Rural Fire Service command, north-west of Tabulam.

There are fears it could join up with the Paddys Flat fire, west of Old Bonalbo.

“It must be contained,” Northern Rivers fire service manager Michael Brett said.

The fire has already burned out more than 8000ha of bushland in Tenterfield and was now threatening a multiple occupancy with 12 dwellings situated about 1km from the fire front.

Yesterday the fire service and National Parks visited people living on the community to warn them of the coming danger.

Superintendent Brett said he was praying for rain, but not before the fire reduction work was finished.

Bulldozers are currently putting in fire breaks around the Clarkes fire while helicopters drop incendiary pellets to burn out bushland while the weather is mild.

And while firefighters work to protect homes and property, it appears an arsonist is also at work in theregion.

Three separate ignition sites along the Summerland Way, near Rappville, were discovered on Sunday after a fire burnt out 70ha of the Braemar State Forest and closed the highway.

“It’s suspicious,” Supt Brett said.

The fire was spotted from a fire tower at Gibragee State Forest at 11am.

The fire tower is manned during high fire danger periods. Six firefighters from State Forest worked to contain the fire yesterday.

State Forests agreed that arson was the likely cause of the fire.

About eight fires were still burning within containment lines across the Northern Rivers with 13,000ha of bush and scrub burnt out across the region.

There is a 90 per cent chance of at least 1mm of rainfall across the region within the next four days.



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