Fires claim homes in NSW
At least three homes are lost in Minnimbah, near Wagga Wagga, as bushfires rage on says NSW Rural Fire Service deputy commissioner Rob Rogers. Nine News.PT1M47S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-313ke 620 349 January 20, 2014
At least three properties were destroyed by an out-of-control forest fire in Minnimbah, near Wagga Wagga, on Sunday.
The Rural Fire Service issued an emergency warning for the Humula, Carabost and Little Billabong areas after a south-westerly wind change in the afternoon put 30 homes ''under immediate threat'' from a ''quickly and erratically'' burning fire.
The Minnimbah fire was the most severe of about 50 fires sparked by lightning strikes on Saturday night. More than 900 firefighters battled 93 active fires across the state on the weekend, RFS spokesman Joel Kursawe said.
Going into battle: A fire truck heads towards a massive fire that caused an emergency warning to be issued after a wind change put 30 homes at risk in villages near Wagga Wagga on Sunday. Photo: Les Smith/Daily Advertiser
Minnimbah residents evacuated mid-afternoon amid deteriorating weather conditions. No injuries or fatalities were reported.
Flames crowned to more than 500 metres as the fire burnt more than 8000 hectares of bush, including 520 hectares of Murragoldrie state forest and pine plantation.
More than 200 firefighters were still tackling the blaze into the evening, aided by two skycrane helicopters and other aircraft.
Riverina Rural Fire Service's James Smith said firefighters were ''as confident as we can be'' their new containment lines would create a major break to the southern and western sides of the fire before an expected wind change at midnight swung the fire around.
The RFS also issued an emergency warning for Ravensworth residents near Singleton at 6pm on Sunday after multiple, fast-moving grass fires tore through areas around Hebden Road.
''It is too late to leave. Seek shelter now from the heat of the fire,'' the alert read. An emergency warning was also issued for residents of Trunkey, near Bathurst, as the Hells Hole fire burned out of control in the Copperhannia National Park area.
Another major forest fire at Redbank, near Bathurst, was proving difficult to control, scorching through 300 hectares, including a radiata pine plantation. More than 60 firefighters used heavy machinery and water bombing aircraft to reduce its ferocity.
Firefighters were also building containment lines to control a scrub fire at Minjary, between Canberra and Wagga Wagga, which by Sunday afternoon burnt 2675 hectares.
At least 10 homes were destroyed in the Grampians region of Victoria. A fire in the northern parts of the Grampians National Park forced the evacuation of tourists and residents in Halls Gap.
with Esther Han