Cooler conditions give firies reprieve in Liverpool Plains

THE zone manager for the Liverpool Plains Rural Fire Service (RFS) says its operations have calmed down considerably since the spate of fires across the area at the weekend.

Andrew Luke says the RFS responded to at least 40 jobs across the Liverpool Plains region before cooler weather conditions gave them a break on Monday and again yesterday.

The Northern Slopes fire district, which takes in the Gunnedah, Gwydir, Inverell, Liverpool Plains and Tamworth council areas, was downgraded to a high fire danger rating after being labelled very high in the preceding days.

Mr Luke said it was a welcome change, ahead of warmer conditions again this weekend.

Crews only responded to a scattering of smaller bush and grass blazes yesterday, including an ongoing fire at Crawney Mountain. Mr Luke said the fire posed a few problems for firefighters with the area’s steep terrain.

Low cloud and rain proved to be more of a hindrance than a help when it presented extremely slippery conditions.

“It was hard to access by vehicles and firefighters had to be pulled out when it became too slippery and dangerous,” he said.

Helicopters and the Rapid Aerial Response Team assisted firefighters from above, holding the line until conditions improved.

The fires are believed to have been lit by lightning strikes but Mr Luke said their causes were still under investigation.

The majority of the Liverpool Plains’ brigades have been activated to fight the fires.

Mr Luke said he was pleased to see the community heeding warnings and chipping in to report fires unattended by brigades.

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