WATCH: Inside the Whiteman Creek bushfire with RFS
HIGH winds and low humidity hampered efforts to contain an out of control bushfire threatening properties west of Grafton today.
Wind gusts were recorded up to 60km/h as NSW Rural Fire Service crews fought to protect multiple homes in the Whiteman Creek area and struggled to sustain containment lines.
Scott Campbell was the Clarence Valley Rural Fire Service's divisional commander on the ground at Whiteman Creek.
The volunteer firefighter was battling blazes for a fifth day in a row after first being called to a fire at Kangaroo Creek south of Grafton in an unusually early start to the bushfire season on August 6.
"With the strong winds that have hit this afternoon again, it's pushed fire towards Whiteman Creek," Mr Campbell said.
"We've been able to get a dozer line pushed in on the southern end of the fire, which we're hoping to contain. We've got crews working there at the moment.
"We did have aircraft to help consolidate some of these lines, but they've been called south."
Two waterbombing aircraft were diverted to a fire about 40km away at Kremnos south of Grafton, where Watch and Act alert levels were raised as conditions deteriorated during the afternoon.
"We're at that witching hour when the wind picks up speed, and it's coming directly from the west which is the worst case for spot fires," Campbell told The Daily Examiner about 3.30pm as the Kremnos fire alert was raised.
"It's going to be hard to get any containment with these winds and the win's a strong westerly til Tuesday.
"Even though we don't have high temperature days, the low humidity and high wind is what's causing grief.
"It dropped down to seven degrees last night but there's just no moisture in the night air so the fire keeps going."
The fire broke out on Friday and jumped Clarence Way and Whiteman Creek Road in quick succession as the fire "spotted up to 300 to 400 metres in front of itself".
However, crews managed to prevent the fire crossing Whiteman Creek Rd south of Taylors Rd, and built a containment line which held the fire at bay to the south throughout Saturday.
"The positive to now is that we've had no property damage that we know of and no injuries," Mr Campbell said.
"The wind pushed the fire up towards properties west of Whiteman Creek Road this morning.
"All we've done today since about eight o'clock is protect properties. However, a southern containment has been established.
"It's one piece of the puzzle, but if we can eliminate one side of the fire and just have one truck patrolling it tomorrow, that would be fabulous. This fire is currently made up of six different fires."
Mr Campbell praised the majority of the property owners in the area who had put effective management plans in place in the event of a bushfire.
"It really does make a difference to get around and so much easier to defend," he said.
The Daily Examiner would like to express gratitude to the Clarence Valley Rural Fire Service volunteers for their assistance in covering this bushfire.
"We're all volunteers who do this for our love of community," Campbell said.
"Not enough people realise we do this for nothing.
"We had builders who dropped everything they were doing at 3pm yesterday."