Total fire bans across the Gunnedah and Liverpool Plains Shire Council areas have been lifted, but are expected to be back in force tomorrow or Thursday at the latest.
Fire permits were suspended until noon yesterday across three Rural Fire Service (RFS) zones, with five bushfires, some burning out of control, continuing to cause major concern in the New England RFS zone.
Adverse weather conditions on Sunday hindered attempts to subdue two massive bushfires in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. Fire crews were reduced to protecting property on
the ground and the two fires merged late on Sunday as fire crews battled from the ground to protect property, unable to water bomb due to gusty winds across the region.
The fire, now named the Macleay River Fire had burnt out 28,733 hectares as of last night, Inspector Brett Loughlin, public liaison officer for Armidale S44 with the NSW Rural Fire Service, said.
Mr Loughlin was expecting the fire to burn out more land.
“We’re doing some mapping now and expect it to be around that 30,000-hectare mark,” he said.
He said 52 firefighters were on the ground creating firebreaks, doing backburning and helping protect the property of landholders living within a few kilometres of the fire front.
“There are properties in close proximity,” Mr Loughlin said.
“The fire has flared up a little this afternoon and some embers are falling around properties in the Lower Creek area.
“No property is under threat at the moment ... the fire’s not doing anything like it was doing on Saturday (when it was out of control).”
Five helicopters are currently tasked to water bombing the Macleay River Fire.
Oxley Wild Rivers National Park is still shut to the public.
In the Liverpool Range RFS zone, which includes Gunnedah and
Liverpool Plains Shire Council areas, spokesman Andrew Luke
said they were being cautious.
“For the remainder of the week, it’s going to be suspended if the fire danger goes very high or above,” Mr Luke said.
A spokesperson for the Rural Fire Service
yesterday said the total fire bans that had been in place on Saturday during a
day of hot, gusty westerly winds had been lifted
and the RFS was expecting cooler conditions to last a couple of days.
But this would not last, with warm, windy weather expected to return tomorrow and hot windy conditions to return on Thursday.
“As of tomorrow and moving further into the week, we are expecting to see a return to challenging fire conditions,” she said.