LIGHTNING strikes, firebugs and storms created headaches for emergency service volunteers and staff across the region at the weekend.
There were numerous scrub-, bush- and grassfires across the North Western, New England, Northern Tablelands and Liverpool Range regions.
Tamworth Rural Fire Service had the help of the rapid aerial response team that was put to work on various fires and an Erickson Skycrane – commonly referred to as Elvis.
Emergency services were rushed off their feet with fires burning through the night on Saturday night and new fires springing up yesterday.
It was so bad that Elvis, who was tasked to a fire emergency at Attunga near the Sulcor Mine, retired hurt, with mechanical issues, meaning more problems for RFS volunteers.
Fixed-wing aircraft were then called in to water bomb the area.
A number of properties and homesteads came under threat but all were saved through the hard work of RFS and police.
In the Tamworth region, six fires were started from lightning strikes near Winton and Somerton, as well as at Crawney Pass near Nundle, Attunga and Warrabah National Park.
The RART went to the Crawney Pass fire and the Attunga fire and was requested to attend the Warrabah fire and the skycrane attended the Attunga fire yesterday afternoon.
The Attunga fire was the biggest issue with a watch and act alert in place at 2pm with the fire threatening isolated rural property.
The fire burned in the area around the Sulcor mine site and Dam Flat Rd.
Firefighters were on the scene with the Air Crane assisting.
Tamworth district fire mitigation officer Barry Gehrig said all were started by lightning strikes.
“Crews are doing reconnaissance for us and most of the fires have been extinguished,” he said.
In the Liverpool Range area 12 fires were started by lightning on Saturday night.
They were spread across the region and included another at Crawney Rd, Timor, as well as Premer and Tambar Springs.
Firefighters were working hard to contain the Timor fire with a bulldozer and air support.
Inspector Andrew Luke said there were reconnaissance flights to make sure there were no further fires burning.
“The tremendous work of the volunteers has meant most of the fires were kept small,” he said.
“Most of the fires were reported by the public or brigades have been able to detect them. This weekend turned out to be a lot busier than we had hoped.”
No fire bans are in place today with New England having low-moderate fire danger and North Western and Northern Tablelands having very high fire danger.
Tamworth, Werris Creek, Curlewis and Gunnedah were struck by storms late yesterday afternoon with trees down on roadways and damage to houses throughout the storm’s path.
Trees and powerlines were down on roads and streets including Nundle Rd, Piper St, Daruka Rd, Porcupine Lane and Curlewis Rd among others.