A STRIKE team of New England firies have returned from battling blazes near small communities on the Far North Coast.
While favourable conditions helped Strike Team Charlie protect properties, the unseasonably intense fires could herald a hazardous season in our region.
The team, comprised of 21 Fire and Rescue workers from the New England region, helped defend a number of properties in the small town of Coraki, south of Lismore, relieving local teams from the ongoing, arduous task.
Tamworth duty commander Wayne Zikan said there was a warning to be heeded for our region from the northern fires.
“The indication from over there is we might have to reassess how severely and quickly and fire might spread given how dry it is here,” Inspector Zikan said.
He said there was still a “tinge of green” in the Lismore area which “didn’t look as dry as it is around Tamworth”
Despite cold temperatures, Inspector Zikan said the fires were “more intense” than usual for this time of year.
“We’re going to have to take extra care with fires in the open, they could spread more quickly than we’re used to,” he said.
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“Even people who’ve been burning on properties for years are getting caught out with fires moving more quickly.
“Also fire services don’t have the same access to water sources, like dams, so that can compound things.”
While there were long days filled with tiring and dirty work, Inspector Zikan said the New England team were happy to go over and help.
“It also gives the residents a bit of confidence that someone’s there to look after them,” he said.
While no one was injured and no properties were lost while the strike team was on the ground, they could get called back in for further assistance if the conditions change.
Inspector Zikan said favourable conditions helped efforts in the Northern Rivers with Rural Fire Service crews carrying out aerial water bombing.
“We were deployed to a fire that had escaped containment and was heading in a north-westerly direction quite rapidly,” he said.
“No one was injured and no properties were lost, but had the conditions not gone a different way and kept maintaining the way it was going, we would have been under a fair bit of pressure.”