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Threat eases for now, but more horror days to come

Date

Stephanie Anderson, Phillip Thomson and Ewa Kretowicz

Smoke lingers in bushland not far from Numeralla.

Smoke lingers in bushland not far from Numeralla. Photo: Graham Tidy

A COOL change will bring hope and some rain along with maximum temperatures of 28 degrees on Sunday giving firefighters a reprieve after horror conditions on Saturday.

But the temperate spell is not expected to last with the mercury set to climb into the 30s on Tuesday with Wednesday and Thursday set for highs of 33 and 36 degrees respectively.

The fire danger rating for Sunday will return to high after three days of total fire bans ended at midnight.

Saturday's conditions were as difficult as predicted with temperatures hitting 35.4 degrees at Canberra airport with dry and hot westerly winds gusting up to 67 km/h, but the element of luck that had helped the ACT avoid serious fires during this week's conditions continued with no fires currently posing a risk to the ACT.

After almost a week of battling one of the most difficult fires across NSW, the Yass region managed to survive what could have been a tough day, and a late scare in Cooma saw the region placed briefly on high alert.

On Saturday afternoon the area's Rural Fire Service spokesman, Peter Dice, said the Yass fire was being controlled. He said if there were no unforseen problems on Saturday night, the fire would probably be downgraded to ''controlled'' by Sunday.

It meant residents on the edges closest to the fire in Yass and Murrumbateman could relax a little because homes were only kilometres away if the flames breached containment lines.

An earlier emergency alert for the Yarrabin fire was downgraded to ''watch and act'' after crews managed to restrict the blaze within containment lines on Saturday, lessening the threat for Tuross and Jibolaro Road properties within 2 km of the fire front. About 15 properties were under threat. The fire, travelling at approximately 1 km an hour as of Saturday, has burnt out more than 10,000 hectares since it began near Cooma seven days ago.

ACT and Queanbeyan region crews have been sent to assist volunteers on the ground near Numeralla and Nimmitabel, which are also being supported by air crews. Residents along Jibolaro and Hains roads, as well as throughout the Kybeyan area, have been warned to move stock to safe areas. Authorities are holding a community meeting at the Numeralla Hall at 2pm on Sunday to update residents, which locals are urged to attend. The acting ACT Emergency Services Agency commissioner, Tony Graham, said the ESA would update fire ratings as the week progressed.

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