RFS attend over 140 fires in Tamworth region this season

Tough conditions: A Gunnedah RFS crew help mop up and contain a grass fire that broke out near Carroll just after midday on Saturday. Photo: Ben Jaffrey
Tough conditions: A Gunnedah RFS crew help mop up and contain a grass fire that broke out near Carroll just after midday on Saturday. Photo: Ben Jaffrey

The region is in the midst of one of its worst fire seasons on record, with Tamworth Rural Fire Service crews attending over 140 incidents since the start of November.

On Friday Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant and NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons issued a statement urging residents all over the state to remain vigilant after recording over 11,000 bush and grass fires since June.

Locally, Tamworth RFS Superintendent Allyn Purkiss said local crews, and staff are on the brink of exhaustion after “the worst fire season in at least ten years.” 

“We have had a few good seasons lately but we have certainly got it back this year,” Supt Purkiss said.

“From November 1 to the middle of January we have attended 140 fires, with crews putting in well over 10,000 hours work in that period – we have had some jobs that have been going on for weeks.” 

One of those jobs is a fire at Scrub Creek near Nundle. That particular fire has been burning since a lightning strike on December 17, and while it remains contained RFS crews are closely monitoring it.

Raging: A long hot summer with very little rain has seen more than 11,000 fires break out across the state since June like this fire at Carroll on Saturday. Photo: Ben Jaffrey

Raging: A long hot summer with very little rain has seen more than 11,000 fires break out across the state since June like this fire at Carroll on Saturday. Photo: Ben Jaffrey

“It is so dry that those lightning strikes are just all taking – it has been a really hectic year,” Supt Purkiss said.

“The crews just have not had a break since November, and it is not just the crews but all the staff and volunteers.

“As soon as we have one fire under control another two start – Tamworth is one of the worse hit regions in the state this season in my opinion.” 

“The crews have also had to deal with three or four fatal motor vehicle accidents in that time as well, so they are really doing it tough.” 

On Sunday there remained three active fires in the Tamworth region. 

The Scrub Creek fire has now burnt out almost 3000 hectares and remains behind containment lines after a shower of rain almost put it out last week.

Crews have also contained and are continuing to monitor fires at Limbri and Moonbi.

Meanwhile just after midday on Saturday a fire broke out on a property near Carroll.

While local landholders were quickly on to it, it took 23 RFS firefighters and nine trucks to eventually contain the blaze.​