FIRE brigades are continuing to fight an active blaze that has burnt more than 31,000 hectares of bushland in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park while a fire burning near Guyra has doubled in size.
A strike team from the mid-north coast has joined around 80 firefighters from the NSW RFS, FNSW and NPWS, supported by five aircraft and 29 tankers working towards containing the Macleay River Fire which has been burning for 12 days.
The fire, which joined with the Freds Fire and Georges Junction Fire on Saturday to become the Macleay River Fire, is burning in the vicinity of the Comara, Georges Junction, Five Day Creek, Lower Creek and Smith Creek areas.
Armidale bush fire emergency incident controller, Alan Purkiss, said that today’s priorities were to protect at-risk properties and to establish containment lines along the sides of the fire.
Five helicopters were water bombing the Macleay River Fire.
Residents in Five Day Creek closest to the emergency had been advised of the possible risk to their homes and told to prepare a bushfire preparation plan in case.
A state owned timber forest to the north of the fire is also under threat and fire brigades were keeping a close eye on the hot spots nearest the forest.
The Kempsey Rd is currently closed and officials are expecting it to remain so until the fire is under control.
Reports of smoke as far away as Bendemeer has kept emergency services busy in the control centre, with Mr Purkiss reminding people to stay vigilant but not call Triple 000 unless absolutely necessary.
“The strong winds we’ve been experiencing has pushed smoke quite far away, but unless you can see live flame with no fire units nearby, chances are we already know about the fire,” Mr Purkiss said.
A fire burning at Mt Mulligan/Wards Mistake, near Guyra had doubled in size since Monday, burning out nearly 1200 hectares of remote bushland.
Nine tankers and 20 firefighters were working towards containing the fire which is burning near Guy Fawkes National Park, and has been described as a “concern.”
“Fires in the past in that area have been hard to contain. We want to keep it out of the national park if we can,” Mr Purkiss said.
Firefighters are hoping that containment lines will be established before predicted warm-er weather conditions arrive on tomorrow and Friday.
Residents in affected areas have been advised to stay aware of local conditions, take the advice of firefighters on the ground and use caution if driving through smoke.
The two fires come as NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons warned that NSW is facing a dangerous bush fire season ahead.
With more than one hundred blazes across NSW last weekend, more than $1 million of damage was sustained through property and stock losses.
“Less than three weeks into this year’s season RFS volunteers have already attended 373 fires, compared to 180 in the same period last year,” Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.
He urged people to get Bush Fire Survival Plans into operation and talk to their family before the fire season hits.
“With hotter, drier weather predicted, people need to get ready now, not later.”
Fire permits are still suspended in the New England RFS zone.