FIREFIGHTERS and forestry crews were given a much-needed reprieve from the constant firefight after rain fell on Sunday night.
RFS crews, including strike teams from Tasmania, were given the day off yesterday after 28mm of rain fell on the Goddo's Road fire between Nundle and Hanging Rock.
The rain was both a help and a hindrance, however: it dampened the fire activity but turned the tracks and trails to mud, preventing crews from getting on the ground.
"It's certainly settled things down, but that has also made a lot of the dozer tracks and trails that we use to get around on the fire, impassable," RFS Inspector Steve Prior said.
"There is obviously big piles of timber, and that's what we need to get to, to move them and extinguish what is burning in them."
One of the strike teams from Tasmania will fly home today, while another will be sent to fight fires on the coast.
RFS Superintendent Allyn Purkiss said a third strike team of 12 firefighters would arrive from the Western region on Tuesday but would be deployed straight to the Clarence Valley, because the immediate threat had eased in Nundle.
"We're not dead and finished by any stretch of the imagination," he said.
"Twenty-eight millimetres doesn't put anything out; we'll still need to be patrolling for at least two weeks with the big logs that are in there, and Forestry crews will be continuing to patrol for quite some time."
Forestry Corporation's Walcha district manager, Gary Miller, said his crews had not stopped since last Sunday, and had "had a really big couple of days" since the fire raged out of control on October 27.
Forestry had 70 men and women on the ground at the peak of the 1310-hectare fire.
"We've had tremendous help from all the local RFS brigades like Woolomin, Hanging Rock and Nundle but also the contractors who are driving the heavy plant, and that is Brian Smith Timber Transport and Paul Summers," he said.
"These guys are working harder than most on these fires ... they've just dropped everything to help us."
The fire ground received about 40mm of rainfall, dampening the 18,153-hectare blaze to just smoldering hot spots.
The fire has now been downgraded to patrol level, and will continue to burn within containment lines at a very slow rate of spread.