JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Fire-hit communities meet to regroup, reassess

Date

Staff reporters

Livestock move across a burnt-out property at Jugiong near Yass.

Livestock move across a burnt-out property at Jugiong near Yass. Photo: Jay Cronan

A firefighter has been injured in fires near Cooma and bushfire-affected communities have met around the region to regroup and re-assess as authorities prepare for dangerous weather conditions to return over the next two days.

A total fire ban has been issued for both the ACT and all of NSW tomorrow. The fire danger rating for the ACT has been raised to severe as a hot air mass looks set to return to the region on Friday.

A firefighter was injured in the Kybeyan Valley near Cooma this afternoon and stock losses are estimated in the hundreds as the Yarrabin fire continues to rage.

A fire crew works to contain fires near Bungendore on Wednesday.

A fire crew works to contain fires near Bungendore on Wednesday. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Related coverage:

Residents of the area gathered at the Nimmitabel Town Hall at 2pm to liaise with fire crews on the latest information and the increased fire risk expected over the next few days.

A bushfire burning 8km south west of Naradhan, north of Griffith in New South Wales. Click for more photos

NSW and ACT fires - 9th January 2013

After a day of sweltering temperatures, firefighters in NSW and the ACT are still facing tough battles against approximately 30 uncontained fires still burning around the state. Areas of concern are Cooma, Deans Gap and Sussex Inlet, Lithgow, Yass and Mudgee. A total fire ban still exists statewide, and all national parks, state forests and reserves have been closed to the public. Selected images available from www.fairfaxsyndication.com. Follow us at http:\twitter.com/photosSMH. Photo: AFP/NSW Rural Fire Service

The Yarrabin fire has claimed at least one property on Mount Forest Road, and is now burning about 20km east of Cooma. More than 10,500 hectares have been burnt, and there are confirmed losses of around 500 sheep.

“Not many” properties were under threat as of 3.30pm.

The fire is one of the worst the region has faced, but Fred Nichols from the Cooma-Monaro Rural Fire Service said the situation for crews was pretty good at the moment.

Still under threat ... an aerial view of Deans Gap.

Still under threat ... an aerial view of Deans Gap. Photo: NSW Rural Fire Service

“We had the fire very stable and we had very low temperatures overnight, but we are expecting a whole weather change with winds swinging around to the north west,” he said.

“We are anticipating this changing the direction of the fire and begin to act on the south east fire line. It will push the fire back down the Kybeyan Valley.

“Potentially, we are going to have trouble holding this fire if weather conditions deteriorate much more.”

Between 18 and 20 ground crews are working on the blaze as the fire front moves across Kybeyan Station, approximately 20km from Nimmitabel.

“It’s fairly isolated, rugged sort of country,” Mr Nichols said.

“There’s not a lot of fire trails there where we can get crews in on the ground.”

Meanwhile, communities from around Jugiong and Bookham were due to meet at 3pm at the Yass Memorial Hall. Fire crews are still working to contain the Cobbler Road fire west of Yass, which has burnt out more than 14,000 hectares and has killed a number of livestock in the region. Authorities are asking people in the area to remain vigilant, particularly around Black Range Road and Childowla Road, where there is a risk of flare ups.

The Sand Hills fire near Timber Tops, east of Bungendore, has been fully contained and the Kings Highway reopened with a lowered speed limit. The fire burnt out more than 1300 hectares, and threatened a number of homes.

The fire danger in the ACT remained at a high level, but no fires are currently burning. The ACT Emergency Services Authority confirmed this afternoon that a total fire ban would be in place in the territory tomorrow, and the fire danger rating would be increased to severe to reflect the worsening conditions.

A light layer of smoke drifted over the ACT last night but cleared late this morning, as crews continued to work on containing fires still burning in NSW.

ESA advised Canberrans not to be alarmed at the sight or smell of smoke in the air on Wednesday night and Thursday morning - there were no bushfires burning in the ACT. The ACT chief health officer Dr Paul Kelly said the smoke did not present any health risks to residents of the territory.

The smoke had drifted over the territory from the Deans Gap fire burning in the Shoalhaven, where more than 80 firefighters with 16 trucks were conducting extensive back burning to shore up containment lines.

The Princes Highway has been open for much of the day, but intermittent delays and closures are expected as operations continue.

Across NSW, more than 120 fires were still burning on Thursday morning, with 15 still classified as uncontained.

West of Yass, crews worked overnight on the Cobbler Road fire conducting back burning operations, and this morning used bulldozers and graders to finalise containment lines. 

Containment and mop-up work will continue across NSW, as crews brace for a return of hot, windy conditions on Friday and Saturday.

Canberra woke to a cool morning, but is forecast to climb to a top temperature of 31 degrees from the 10 degree minimum felt about 5.40am.

The mercury is set to climb again over the next two days, culminating in the potential perfect storm of heat and winds emergency services are fearing for Saturday.

Thermometers are tipped to reach 36 degrees on Friday before rising again to 37 on Saturday.

But a Bureau of Meteorologist duty forecaster on Wednesday said things weren't looking as bad for Saturday as they had for Tuesday's 38-degree horror day.

'The wind probably won't be as strong," he said.

West to north-westerly winds for Saturday are expected to blow less ferociously, up to 35km/h before dropping off during the evening.

But then the cycle will begin again as another front moves through, dropping back down to 29 degrees on Sunday with a chance of rain, before slowly creeping into the low 30s on Monday and Tuesday.

Related Coverage

Crews work to contain fires near Bungendore. Pic taken from the Kings Highway. NSW and ACT fires - 9th January 2013

After a day of sweltering temperatures, firefighters in NSW and the ACT are still facing tough battles against approximately 30 uncontained fires still burning around the state. Areas of concern are Cooma, Deans Gap and Sussex Inlet, Lithgow, Yass and Mudgee. A total fire ban still exists statewide, and all national parks, state forests and reserves have been closed to the public. Selected images available from www.fairfaxsyndication.com. Follow us at http:\twitter.com/photosSMH.

Top of this week's to-do list? Save the house

Having fought back flames little more than 100 metres from their front door, Ulli and Sue Tuisk are still in shock that their home is standing.

Stark reality of death for farmers as animals perish in the inferno

Farmers have suffered stock losses in the thousands as bushfires continue to tear through properties across the border.

Fears loom for a perfect storm of heat and winds

The mercury is set to climb once again for the remainder of the week, culminating in high heat and winds on Saturday.

Concerns over lack of radio coverage to warn of emergencies

Palerang Council will follow up on concerns of lack of ABC Radio coverage in the shire during bushfire emergencies on Tuesday.

Young firebugs to be educated over dangers

The two teenagers caught lighting fires in Canberra's north could face firefighters as part of their punishment.

Disaster loans on way for devastated land-holders, businesses

Thirty-seven NSW local government areas will have access natural disaster assistance as bushfires tear through the state.

Related Coverage

Featured advertisers