AFTER the blast of winter cold that hit the region on Friday, bringing snow with it, there will be a welcome reprieve on the weather front this week.
The smoke haze hanging around Tamworth yesterday morning was a result of a number of fires burning around the state and not enough wind to blow it away.
It’s thought the haze was a mix of smoke that had drifted in from fires burning near the Walcha Gorge and on the North Coast.
This morning if it’s still hanging around, while unlikely, its because the predicted northerly winds weren’t quite strong enough.
Last week’s snow and cold hadn’t done much to reduce fuel loads and yesterday they began to dry off and, thanks to the warm change, hazard reduction burns were back underway.
One such burn began at 10am near Somerton. An RFS crew of about 10, armed with three trucks were on hand to monitor the fire near Bloomfield St, which it was hoped would reduce loads across three hectares of bushland.
NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons yesterday thanked volunteers and their employers in the region, after one of the busiest starts to the bush fire season in the region in recent years.
He said while milder conditions last week had provided some respite, there have been 670 bush and grass fires across northern NSW since July, burning through nearly 20,000 hectares.
“Of the 670 bush and grass fires experienced in recent months, many have been burning in remote areas, requiring a big commitment in terms of people and equipment such as aircraft,” Commisioner Fitzsimmons said.
“It’s been an incredible team effort from our volunteers, incident management teams and other agencies such as the National Parks and Wildlife Service, limiting the damage from these fires in what have been, from time to time, difficult weather conditions.”
While the weather pattern this spring has seen warmer days occurring during the middle of the working week, before a cold front comes through and brings temperatures down on the weekend, it looks like this weekend might be the exception.
The warmth looks set to last into the weekend.