FIREFIGHTERS managed to save a house from a fierce fire that forced the closure of a major highway twice in 24-hours.
Crews were still on the ground on Thursday night, but had gained the upper-hand on the Gwydir Highway fire between Warialda and Delungra, despite it burning more than 320 hectares in less than two days.
Rural Fire Service (RFS) spokesperson Greg Allen told The Leader the fire had been contained and firefighters were working to mop up on the fireground.
But the weather conditions were a constant test for crews. Winds continued to fan the flames and a very high fire danger is in force for Friday, with challenging conditions also predicted for the weekend.
Mr Allan said some outbuildings, like sheds, had been lost, but miraculously they had managed to save a house in the firing line.
WARIALDA: The Gwydir Hwy is open btn Warialda and Delungra after a bushfire. There's a reduced speed limit of 80km/h. Take care due to smoke in the area.— Live Traffic NSW (@LiveTrafficNSW) February 8, 2018
“Due to the great work of firefighters who were assisted by crews from Fire and Rescue NSW, they were able to save that building from any structural damage, but it did receive some heat damage,” he said.
Due to the great work of firefighters who were assisted by crews from Fire and Rescue NSW, they were able to save that building from any structural damage but it did receive some heat damage.RFS spokesperson Greg Allan
“Crews conducted backburning operations and worked to build and strengthen containment lines and we have firefighters patrolling and mopping up the fireground.”
Falling tree branches forced the closure of the Gwydir Highway between Warialda and Delungra for several hours on Wednesday night, and when the fire flared up again on Thursday afternoon, authorities made the decision to close it for a second time.
Thick, black smoke blanketed the area as the fire jumped the roadway, forcing smaller cars and trucks on a detour, and grounding heavy vehicles.
Advice: Gwydir Hwy fire, Delungra. Crews are on scene at the fire burning near the Gwydir Highway to the south east of Warialda. Highway currently closed in both directions, please follow advice from emergency personnel or avoid the area if possible. #NSWRFShttps://t.co/w8p5UuzzMZ— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) February 8, 2018
It re-opened to traffic at about 6pm on Thursday.
The North West and Northern Slopes area, including Tamworth, is covered by a very high fire danger rating on Friday with temperatures expected in the high-thirties.
Hot and potentially gusty conditions are also predicted for Saturday and Sunday.