FIRE crews attended no fewer than 10 grass, scrub and bush fires across the North West yesterday as the windy weather aggravated conditions.
From Moonbi to Tenterfield, Rural Fire Service (RFS) and NSW Fire and Rescue crews battled the flames that started about 10.30am and continued late into yesterday afternoon.
A grass fire quickly spread out of control at Moonbi about 3.20pm.
It was the closest fire to come near Tamworth and it is understood it had been lit for the purposes of hazard reduction burns – not by the RFS – on a private property.
Smoke from the fire made visibility poor along the New England Highway, just past the first arrester bed on the Moonbi hill.
Some Moonbi residents reported that their electricity had been cut off.
About six Tamworth RFS and Carthage St fire crews attended the scene for most of the afternoon and the fire was brought under control by 5pm.
Some of the first fires had broken out near Inverell, where hazard reduction burns were taking place at 10.30am.
On the Nullamanna Rd and at Swanbrook on the Gwydir Highway, the hazard reduction burns posed no threat and were under control.
Three other grass and scrub fires blazed on near the same sites, on the Nullamanna and Wallangra roads at 10.30am and later at 3.30pm, and trees were reportedly alight on a stretch of the Gwydir Highway at Elsmore about 10.30am also.
Two grass fires were reported at Guyra about 2pm and the Tenterfield and Glen Innes areas had small scrub and grass fires about 10.30am.
A bush fire was reported about 20km south east of Walcha at Falls View and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service attended to bring it under control by 4pm.
Mr Purkiss reminded residents that fire permits have been required since the beginning of August to light fires in the open.