Spate of fires push crews to the limit

Storm activity kept worn out firefighters working past exhaustion at the weekend and into Monday, with more than a dozen fires sparked since Friday.

The Rural Fire Service (RFS) expected lightning was to blame for most, with two storm bands running through the district over the weekend.

Community education officer, Superintendent Peter Dyce, said the biggest blaze was near Kangiara, about 20 kilometres north of Yass.

“There was over 200 hectares burnt. There were some stock losses [but] we don’t know how many,” he said.

The Kangiara fire started Saturday afternoon at a property called ‘Glanmire’ on the Lachlan Valley Way.

Aircraft assisted the crews on the ground and Superintendent Dyce said that allowed firefighters to get the blaze under control.

Close to seven hectares near Black Range road was burnt in a separate fire on Saturday.

Residents in that area know all too well the impact fire could have, as they were under threat by the Cobbler Road fire in early January.

Other fires over the weekend included several at Wee Jasper, in rugged terrain.

A fire broke out Sunday afternoon in steep country on a property about 40 kilometres from Yass near Wee Jasper, on a property called Corolo.

Around 30 hectares was burnt. Firefighters mopping up that scene were redirected to a nearby fire, on Doctors Flat Road, on Monday.

The Doctors Flat Road fire was difficult for tankers to get to, and a helicopter was called in to deal with it.

A team of firefighters from the ACT were flown in by helicopter and put a break around the fire with hand tools.

A dozer was also called in to create a track for trucks to access the fire ground. It was still burning but classified as contained yesterday morning.

Crews from the Kangiara area were again called to a fire on Monday around 9am at Ballandarah, on the Wargeila Road.

The fire was under control around lunch time but sparked up again that afternoon, burning around 16 hectares in total.

Fire fighters around the district were called to around another 10 smaller spot fires between Friday and Monday.

The spate of blazes was a reminder that the dangerous fire season is not over yet.

“There hasn’t been a lot of rain in these areas,” Superintendent Dyce said.

He said without significant rain, the conditions will continue to worsen throughout February.

Although, he said, a cooler forecast for this week might allow fire fighters to “get a handle on it”.

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