RURAL Fire Service crews across the region were kept busy at the weekend with machinery used and campfires lit during total fire bans.
Tamworth, North Western and Northern Slopes all have high fire danger ratings with no bans in place today and New England has a very high fire danger with permits suspended.
One of the fires of most concern at the weekend was the Yarrowitch fire, burning near properties on Kangaroo Flat Rd east of Walcha.
New England Superintendent George Alexander said the fire was staying within established containment lines, but firefighters had backburned on Friday and Saturday nights on the western side of Kangaroo Flat Rd.
They said they hoped to carry out aerial incendiaries yesterday, to burn areas they couldn’t get to, to stop the fire spreading.
“We will doing a similar thing on the eastern side (today),” he said.
“There are properties within the burnt area and we’ve been keeping them up to date and doing backburning around those properties.”
They are using heavy plant such as bulldozers, where possible, and back burning was successful, shoring up containment lines. The fire has burned out more than 300 hectares.
Tamworth RFS crews also assisted with the Yarrowitch fire on the weekend, with six units attending on Saturday and returning home yesterday.
There is now no immediate threat to properties.
Tamworth RFS Inspector Sean Barton said they were called to one fire burning in the Tamworth RFS district yesterday and Friday night and Saturday were busy. A car catching alight started a grass fire on Rushes Creek Rd at Manilla at about 2.30pm yesterday.
Two units from Rushes Creek RFS brigade attended and Inspector Barton said it took the firefighters about 30 minutes to control the fire.
The fire burned about four hectares and the vehicle.
RFS tankers from Winton and Tamworth City attended the Baiada rendering plant fire on Friday night on Gunnedah Rd and continued to monitor the site throughout the night.
On Saturday at 12.45pm, crews from Bendemeer and Moore Creek brigades attended a fire in Bendemeer on the intersection of New England and Oxley highways in a paddock.
The fire burned on the western side of the highway between the river and the highway, but Inspector Barton said firefighters controlled the fire within about 30 minutes. He said a lawnmover was believed to be the cause of the fire.
“That’s a reminder to the community about using machinery during a total fire ban,” he said.
Campfires were a headache for Woolomin RFS brigade on Saturday night.
A crew was called to fires at Chaffey Dam on Nundle Rd on Saturday night, accompanied by police.
“There was a total fire ban in place and a number of campfires were lit around the dam,” Inspector Barton said.
“We had police attend with the brigade and found nine fires that were extinguished as a result. Investigations are being made about whether infringement notices will be issued.”
In the Namoi/Gwydir RFS district, Inspector Brett Loughlin said there were no major fire events, other than a one hectare fire north of Warialda caused by a transformer failure.
“Crews arrived on scene to find hay bales on fire and unfortunately the hay ended up in the burned out area,” RFS Inspector Brett Loughlin said.
“The property owner agreed to monitor that.”
In Moree, there was a reignition of a fire on the Gwydir Highway near the Pallamallawa turn off.
Inspector Loughlin said police also attended that fire as it was the reignition of a fire believed to have been deliberately lit on Friday.
Yesterday, he said was a bit cooler, but there was the chance of rain and thunderstorms in the coming week, which could cause issues.
“If we get storms without rain, we’ll be quite concerned,” Inspector Loughlin said.
“Rain is not going to buy us a great amount of time, unless it’s a substantial amount. If people know a dry lightning storm has gone through their area, they should look and see if any fires have been lit as a result and report them so we can get onto them as quickly as possible.”
Inspector Loughlin said tomorrow could see another round of total fire bans with strong and gusty winds predicted.
Liverpool Plains RFS Inspector Graham Brown said they’d had a few fires in the Hunter area at the weekend, but brigades responded quickly.
“We had a couple of good saves with fires caused by high winds,” he said.
They had a quiet day yesterday, though, with one callout to a fire in a paddock at Kelvin.
The causes of these fires are still under investigation.
In the Northern Tablelands, the Trigamon North Rd fire is now under control and the Bruxner Highway has reopened.