'Long way to go': Windy conditions cause havoc on fire front

 

New South Wales still has "a long way to go" before the bushfire threat is over, with one particularly dangerous fire still covering 150,000 hectares on its own, and another wave of bad weather on the horizon.

Today the focus also shifts to Queensland, where increasingly windy conditions and temperatures in the mid to high thirties will make firefighters' job harder.

  • 83 fires are burning in NSW, 50 of which are not contained;
  • One blaze west of Coffs Harbour covers 150,000 hectares, with a perimeter of more than 1000km;
  • At least a 50 homes were damaged or destroyed yesterday;
  • The wind change that caused havoc in NSW yesterday is now moving into QLD;
  • More than 60 fires are burning across the state.

As late as 10pm on Tuesday, there were still 11 fires burning at emergency level. That figure dropped dramatically overnight, and by 7:30am there were none.

The biggest threat is still the Liberation Trail fire west of Coffs Harbour, which is a whopper. That blaze currently covers about 150,000 hectares, has a perimeter longer than 1000km and remains out of control.

It's threatening Yarracooma, Paddys Plain, Cradle Creek and Lowanna. Residents are being advised to monitor conditions closely.

There were also fears over the Hillville Road and Rumba Dump fires overnight as a southerly change made them change direction. Thankfully, those two were downgraded to watch and act status at 6:30am.

"They're consuming an area of more than a million hectares," NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said last night, referring to all the fires across the state.

"The enormity of the task to bring these fires properly under control, to consolidate them, to get around them and mop them up is enormous."

Mr Fitzsimmons said the evening's cool change would bring "some welcome relief", but he warned firefighters would not be able to complete that process of stamping out all the remaining fires before the next dose of dangerous weather later this week.

Hot, dry and windy conditions are forecast for Friday and the weekend.

"There's no meaningful reprieve. There's no rainfall in this change and we're going to continue to have warm, dry conditions dominating in the days and weeks ahead," he said.


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