A shot from Northern Rivers RFS crews who have been battling to control the Duck Creek Fire to the East of Old Bonalbo.
A shot from Northern Rivers RFS crews who have been battling to control the Duck Creek Fire to the East of Old Bonalbo. Mick Stain

Rain needed to help ease fire risk

FIRES in the Northern Rivers will burn for weeks, if not months, if 'we don't have any significant rain', NSW Rural Fire Service spokesman James Morris said today.

"Until we get containment of these fires, it's a big job for the local and out-of-area crews," Mr Morris said.

Helen Kirkup, duty forecaster for the Bureau of Meterology said the rain forecast for fire grounds in Tenterfield, Bonalbo and Kyogle did not look promising.

"They need a few days of rain, a couple of mills is not going to help," she said.

"If anything, the places that desperately need rain are the ones that are going to miss out.

"Dry westerly winds in spring are reasonably normal before we get more of a summertime tropical influence with higher humidity."

On Saturday, a bushfire burning north of the Bruxner Highway at Drake was elevated to an emergency level threatening homes in Red Rock Road and Rover Park.

Seventeen homes have already been lost to bushfires across NSW in the past fortnight, primarily resulting from the fires affecting Long Gully Rd, Drake and Mount MacKenzie Rd, Tenterfield.

An easterly wind change on Saturday night reduced the threat to homes in Drake but still required up to 100 firefighters to contain the blaze today.

No homes have been lost.

"From all accounts, they are still doing ok. I think the locals are extremely thankful for the assistance of everyone who is putting their hand up and still wanting to come and help," Mr Morris said.

"Some are certainly completely exhausted.

"It just goes to show the compassion and commitment people have to assist others."

Firefighters have been able to use hoses and water from the back of their trucks to contain the fire, as opposed to strategies such as backburning.

"The fire conditions were conducive enough to be able to fight the fire without it being to dangerous for the crews," Mr Morris said.

With increased winds today, RFS crew are hoping wind would push fire further from homes.

"Winds as well as temperatures are likely to increase today and we are seeing a very high fire danger for the area."

NSW RFS are receiving the help of crews across NSW with a combination of fire-fighters from the Rural Fire Service, Fire & Rescue NSW, National Parks and Wildlife service and State Forests.

Also on Saturday a blustery south-easterly wind change led to a fire breaching the northern containment line of the Duck Creek Fire to the east of Old Bonalbo.

A fall-back line had been previously created a couple days prior and firefighters completed a backburn from this line overnight.

"It was another big day and night again for Northern Rivers crews," NSW RFS posted on their Facebook page.

"A significant number of firefighters will be on the ground again today."



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