Cobbler Road: Rolling fire coverage

Photo: Tony Bugden
Photo: Tony Bugden
Photo: Tony Bugden

Photo: Tony Bugden

On top of the following information updates, we have even more ongoing briefs, updates and input from our readers over at our  Facebook Page. Click through the above carousel to see a series of videos regarding the Cobbler Road fire.


9.20am: Wrapping up the fire coverage: as reported Saturday morning, the fire is contained. The RFS said rehabilitation work will continue to be carried out. 

Firefighters have been working hard to ensure the fires are secured.

Non-residents were asked not to travel on rural roads in the Cobbler road fire area due to the risk of falling trees and ongoing fire related activity with heavy plant and fire appliances.

No more posts will be made on this coverage unless there is a major change in conditions.


5.25pm: An aerial patrol of the Yass fire has found that the fire is well under control in all areas but the Devil's Pass area. There are smouldering trees in other areas, but they are well within containment lines. Based on that report, the RFS is now moving resources to focus more heavily on Devil's Pass. Devil's Pass, while still actively burning, remains within containment lines.

5.01pm: Latest release from the RFS states the fire is still contained.  

"Today fire crews are continuing to mop up, patrol and strengthen containment lines," the RFS said.

Residents and landowners can expect to see fire activity and smoke in these areas.

1.15pm: Several breakouts occurring within containment lines. Helicopters and bombers are working with ground crews to get them sorted out. 

12.20pm: Today's weather change has come through earlier than expected, according to the RFS. The crews will be battling high winds and hot temperatures for much of today.

The service has advised people in the area to keep an eye on conditions.

11.01am: The Cobbler Road fire, which has been burning out of control since Tuesday night, has now been classified as contained.

The Rural Fire Service (RFS) said crews were continuing to strengthen containment lines.

“Today fire crews are continuing to mop up, patrol and strengthen the containment lines,” the RFS said in a release.

Residents and landowners would expect to see fire activity and smoke in these areas.

Fire crews are working hard to ensure that these fires are secured before the expected weather change today.

Three fires in the Bungonia and Morton National Park near Goulburn, along with the Honeysuckle fire near Crookwell, are all contained.

Today’s fire rating is still extreme and there is a total fire ban in place for the entire state.

The RFS still advises residents to monitor conditions in the area and check their bushfire survival plan.

10.17am: Yass weather forecast for the next few days from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Today: Maximum of 39. Windy partly cloudy.

Partly cloudy. Winds north-westerly 25 to 35 km/h tending westerly 30 to 45 km/h in the morning then becoming light in the late evening. Daytime maximum temperatures around 40.

Total Fire Ban. Extreme fire danger.

Sunday: Maximum of 33. Possible shower.

Cloudy. Isolated showers, more frequent in the south-east. Light winds becoming east to south-easterly 15 to 25 km/h in the early afternoon then tending south-east to south-westerly in the late evening. Overnight temperatures falling to between 15 and 20 with daytime temperatures reaching 24 to 33.

Monday: Maximum 28. Possible morning shower.

Partly cloudy. The chance of showers during the morning. Light winds becoming easterly 15 to 25 km/h during the afternoon. Overnight temperatures falling to between 10 and 13 with daytime temperatures reaching 22 to 27.

9.30am: Any rumours that Yass firies are not getting enough food on the fire ground are false. While donations from the community have been very welcome, the state government is providing food (under Section 44 provisions) to all the volunteers involved in the firefighting efforts.

8am: The control centre have told us overnight some backburning was done. Conditions favoured the firefighters, with the fire largely burning back upon itself. 

There is no current risk to Yass or any homes. 

They are still concerned about changing weather conditions later today, as strong winds could cause problems later on.


6.50pm: RFS say there is fire activity at Devils Gap, 11km from Yass, and Nanangroe in the south division.

Fire crews from Southern Tablelands and South West zones of the NSW Rural Fire Service, SES, NSW Fire and Rescue, NSW Police, NSW Ambulance and the local council are supported by water bombing aircraft at the scene. National Park and Wildlife raft crews are continuing to strengthening containment lines on fires in the Southern Tablelands zone.

Residents and land owners can expect to see fire activity and smoke in these areas. Smoke from these fires is causing confusion about the status of the fires. Other fires are being monitored by fire agencies.

Fire crews are working hard to ensure that these fires are secured before the expected weather change at the weekend.

Another fire that started at Fullerton, north of Crookwell today has been contained.

Weather update for tomorrow: extreme fire danger, 40 degrees Celsius and windy. Winds NNW 15-20km/h turning westerly 30-45km/h, gusting to 55km/h. Overnight temperatures to fall to 21 degrees.

 4.40pm: The RFS are happy with how today has gone. Peter Dyce from Yass fire control said almost nothing had changed since this morning.

"It's remained very cooperative and doing what we wanted it to do."

There have been "the occasional mishap" around Childowla Road, as the fire burns back on itself. However, that is all within containment lines.

11.07: Thirty fire tankers and over 120 firefighters from Yass and Harden, assisted by a strike-force of 7 units from the ACT, are working on the ground to contain the fire. Eleven 11 helicopters, based out of Joe O'Connor park are conducting water bombing operations and monitoring the fire ground for hotspots.

"Although the fire is still actively burning in and around Devils Pass, they are confident the containment lines and strategies they have in place will hold the fire in that location " according to Peter Dyce, RFS community education officer.

"Residents should not panic, but, as always, be prepared to act on official advice should the situation change. Have your Bushfire Survival Plan prepared well in advance."

You can download your survival plan from the RFS website

Please listen to official fire updates broadcast on ABC Radio and the Yass Tribune will continue to bring you updates from the RFS as they come to us. 

Weather today: Top temperature of 37 degrees Celsius. N/NW winds up to 25km/h tending to westerly winds 25-35km/h in the afternoon.

8am: The fire remains 11 kilometres from town and the status is now Being Controlled. Yass Valley residents are encouraged  to be alert today, but not alarmed. Know what your bushfire plan is and be ready to enact it if necessary. Firies, council workers, SES and a range of others are throwing everything they have at the fire.

7.45am: Overnight firefighters have been working on a firebreak between Yass town and the Cobbler Road fire. That break is now 30 metres wide. Firies have also been up working on containment lines at Jugiong and Bookham.


7.20pm: There is real concern over tomorrow's worsening weather conditions. The RFS control centre has just sent through the following weather update.

A STATE TOTAL FIRE BAN has been declared for Friday 11th January 2013.

The Fire rating for the Southern Tablelands is SEVERE.


Monitor conditions in your area.

Check and follow your Bush Fire Survival Plan. If you do not have a plan, decide what you will do if the situation changes. Leaving early is your safest option.

If your life or property is in immediate danger call ‘000’


• Updates on this fire are also available at 

 or by calling call 1800 NSW RFS (1800 679 737).

• Find out the latest Fire Danger Rating in your area at 

 or by calling 1800 NSW RFS (1800 679 737).

• For information on road conditions or closures, please call the NSW RTA on 131 700 or check

. Remember roads may be closed without warning.

• For information on closures of National Parks associated with this fire, please visit

• If you need to report a new fire or require urgent assistance, dial Triple Zero (000).

5.30pm: Update from the community meeting: authorities stressed that there is no direct threat to Yass town at the moment. They have a number of plans in place if the fire does move this way.

People are urged to listen to the radio for latest reports and emergency warnings. Both ABC and Yass FM will have updates. Emergency services and support crews were on hand to answer questions.

3:15pm: Latest news from the fire control centre is very positive. In the words of the RFS' Peter Dyce, "The fire is behaving the way we want it to." Fire crews and aircraft are hitting the front at Devil's Pass, with a grader working out there as well. They are optimistic they can get it under control soon.

10:40am: Another Trib journo, Tiffany Grange, is a member of the volunteer fire crew at Jugiong and spent all day yesterday in mopping up operations in the Jugiong area.It was a hard and, at times, distressing day as the devastation of farms and the amount of stock loss became apparent. We will have more about that in tomorrow's Tribune. Meantime television crews descend on Yass - currently at the fire control centre interviewing our own Peter Dyce, community education officer for the Southern Tablelands fire region. Peter has been a great resource of info during the last few days.

10:20am: Childowla Road is now open, if you are in that area and need to know. It's probably unnecessary to say this, but obviously sightseers should stay away from the fire areas today. No need to go for a 'look see'. The fire is still very active and the area should be avoided unless you are directly involved.

10:10am: Tribune journalist Oliver Watson is being taken up in a plane this morning to survey the fire situation. We look forward to having more info and photos for you when he gets back.

10:05am: Council is holding a public meeting to provide an update on the Cobbler's Road fire at Bookham. It will be held at the Yass Soldiers Memorial Hall at 3pm this afternoon.

9:50am: The PERIMETER of the fire is 98 kilometres - not the fire front. As in our previous update, the fighting the fire on three fronts and progress is going well. A convoy of Essential Energy trucks has been seen on and around the Hume Highway this morning - they are working hard to restore power to everyone in the region. 

8:35am: There's a bit of misinformation getting out again this morning, with some news services saying the fire is breaking its containment lines so we have spoken to the RFS control centre (which is now back in Yass) and got the latest.

The fire has NOT broken containment lines. There is still only the one fire, which RFS calls Cobblers Road fire so that's how we'll refer to it as well.

Firefighters have been going at it on three fronts. 

- At the south-western edge, between Childowla Road and the river, near Jugiong, backburning has been done. Fire has stayed within containment lines.

- At the north-western edge, between the fire edge and the Hume Highway, backburning has also been done, which is working well. Fire is within containment lines.

-The south-eastern front, at Devil's Gap on the Yass River, the fire caused headaches for firefighters yesterday because of the steep gorge - but they got it out into the open and are now able to attack it hard. It is not yet contained but it is under control.We will continue to update you.

6:23am: Latest update from RFS...

The fire burning in grass and scrub is travelling in an easterly direction approximately 10 kilometres west of Yass. The fire is not yet fully contained.

Fire crews are working to establish and deepen containment lines by back burning over night.

Properties on Black Range Road and Glenroy Road are currently not under direct threat due to benign fire behaviour being experienced with cooler conditions over night, however residents are urged to remain vigilant and ensure properties are well prepared, as temperatures rise during the day.

The townships of Yass and Bowning are not being impacted by fire currently; however smoke from the fire is visible from Yass and the Hume Highway.


4.39pm: The grass/scrub fire is travelling in an easterly direction 11 kilometres west of Yass.

Fire crews assisted by water bombing aircraft and the Air-Crane are undertaking property protection at a small number of rural properties along Childowla, Bibinda and Black Range Road.

Properties in the Ferndale, Sunnyside, Spring Vale, Wattle Valley, Yowerweema, Katandee and Euralia areas are advised that the fire may impact within the next two to six hours.

The townships of Yass and Bowning are not being impacted currently, however smoke from this fire is visible from Yass.

1pm: Rural Fire Service crews are working to protect properties along Childowla Rd as fire impacts on the area this afternoon.

The Cobbler Rd fire is currently burning 11km west of Yass with properties in the Ferndale, Sunnyside, Springvale, Wattle Valley, Yowerweema, Katandee, Euralia and Billa Burra Burra areas warned that fire may impact in the next two to six hours.

The fire service has also said a rural property on Glenroy Rd could also come under threat.Smoke from the fire can be seen from Yass but the town along with nearby Bowning are not being impacted by the blaze.

Several fire units are working to control the fire.

12pm: Barry O'Farrell and a media swarm pay a visit to the fire staging area at the Bookham Fire shed. Burrinjuck MP Katrina Hodgkinson joins the premier, and they plus the fire commissioner hold a press conference. Ms Hodgkinson outlines what is being done locally to continue to combat the fire, such as extra fire crews, grading and dozing, and more aircraft.

During the press conference, 'Elvis' the fire crane took off and flew overhead.

11.15am: There is still activity in the Yass River Devil's Gap area. There have been numerous wind changes which is causing smoke to blow in all directions and causing some people to think the fire has escaped the containment line. It has not. The fire is still contained.

There is no immediate concern or threat of evacuation for Yass township.I f the fire does break containment lines, residents will be notified via SMS messages. Black Range Road is not being evacuated but protection is being put in place. This road is closed to all traffic. 

Burrinjuck Road remains closed to all traffic but may be reopened after lunch time today. Childowla Road remains closec.

10am: Premier Barry O'Farrell arrives at the Caltex Service Centre at Yass to rendezvous with media and the NSW Fire Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner before heading to the fire staging area at Bookham. 

Mr O'Farrell told the Tribune that the Cobbler Road fire is the biggest in the state right now, which is why he felt it was important to visit. He estimated stock losses in the region at 10,000, which he said equated to about $1 million. 

The premier said that he hoped to announce an assistance package for those effected later today.

8.50am: temperature readings of just 17 degrees Celsius are being reported in Yass town.

6.44am: The Cobbler Road fire's alert level is at Watch and Act but the status remains at 'Out of Control'. It has damaged around 17000 hectares.

4.32am: Significant drop in temperature and changing wind direction is helping fire fighters. For the first time all night, they are beginning to have a note of optimism in their voice. Still a long way go to but with the fire now burning back on itself in a couple of areas there is an opportunity for fire fighters to gain an advantage.

2.32am: RFS has stressed that Bowning and Yass are currently not under fire threat. Emergency warning has been downgraded to Watch and Act. Burrinjuck Road and Black Range Road have been closed. One lane of the Hume Highway southbound also remains closed.

Fire fighters will be working all through the night to try to ensure the fire does not reach heavily populated areas.

12:45am: Fire has forked and the western fork appears to have crossed the Hume Highway and is possibly heading towards Bowning. Some concerns also that the fire may threaten Yass tomorrow morning. 


11.45pm: RFS have confirmed that the fire has jumped Black Range Road, and is still heading in an easterly direction, potentially towards Yass. However, a wind change could alter things. Watch and act. at this stage the fire is estimated to have burned over 8900 hectares.

10:30pm: Karan Gabriel just spoke with an RFS spokesman from the Harden Control Centre who advised that conditions have eased. The wind is non-existent in some areas but gusty in others, and the southerly change was about to come through.

Conditions earlier tonight were the worst the control centre had seen and so the current slight easing has been a slight relief as the fire was not running as hard as it had been, however more units are urgently needed (many of them already rolling) to join and assist the many unit already on scene

There have been no further property losses, and in fact the property loss previously advised by RFS was still in the process of being verified. However high stock losses were said to be likely.

The fire had passed through the village of Talmo and was expected to swing north towards Bookham and the highway.

To that end, council graders have cleared a two lane width on the southern side of the Hume Highway from Jugiong to Bookham which the RFS is hoping will act as a fire break and “hold it at the Hume”

The South bound lane was scheduled to close at 10.30pm and was likely to be closed most of the night.  The spokesman said they were confident they’d hold it at the Hume but said the next two days would be crucial as it will be very hot again by the weekend and they’ll need to have it out by then.

RFS crews are expected to be working around the clock for the next two days.

This is an approximation only of the fire location (as at midnight Tuesday) based on witness descriptions.

9:06pm: It appears that at least one property has now been lost in this fire on Bogalara Road. The grass fire continues to burn very quickly through grasslands south of Bookham and is currently impacting on Burrinjuck Road and the fire activity has closed the road. 

People in the area are advised to shelter in place as the fire impacts. People in the Burrinjuck Dam area are also advised to shelter in place, it is too late to leave this area.

The fire has moved through the Childowla Road area, but residents are advised to keep up to date with the changing fire conditions.

People in the Bald Hill are are advised that the fire threat has now eased, however they should remain aware of the changing fire situation.

8.42pm: JUGIONG FIRE UPDATE: Just got off the phone from Peter Dyce to get the situation from the horse's mouth, as it were.

The fire is heading towards BOOKHAM. He advises Bookham residents to put their fire plan into action. There will most likely be an automated warning going out now or very soon.

If you want to leave, now is the time to do it.

If you feel comfortable to stay, then be prepared to shelter in your home until the fire has passed. A taskforce from Goulburn was being dispatched as we spoke. Firies will create a ring around Bookham to protect properties.

Fire front is three kilometres long and travelling at about 15kph. It is estimated to reach Bookham in under two hours. Fire my also spread to BURRINJUCK. 

Please share this with anyone you know in those areas.

7.26pm: Jugiong fire is continuing to cause headaches for fire crews.

7.25pm: Update on fire near Gundaroo. This fire is at Advice level and is under control. Size remains about 81 hectares.

7.23pm: Update on Leary's Lane fire at Grabben Gullen. It has been put back at Advice level, but status is that it is under control. It has burnt 253 hectares.

7.08pm: An Emergency Alert telephone warning has been sent to residents on Childowla and Talmo Road advising them to leave the area immediately and go north to Harden.

It is too late for peple on Bogolara Rd to leave, they are advised to shelter in place as the fire impacts.

Please note, those vacating the area are now advised NOT to go to the Bookham Hall but to go to the Harden Country Club instead.

6.40pm: The grass fire is burning near a small number of rural properties near the township of Jugiong. The fire is now burning in an easterly direction and is about to impact on Bogolara Rd.

People who want to leave the area can relocate to Bookham Hall.

People in the Bald Hill are are advised that the fire threat has now eased, however they should remain aware of the changing fire situation.

This fire is still rated emergency status.

6.11pm: Grabben Gullen fire has now been contained.

5.44pm: Latest Jugiong fire information is that it has now burnt 1244 hectares.

5.41pm: Lots of reports of smoke in Yass town and surrounding areas. However, this is likely to be blowing in from Bungendore or Gundaroo. Yass Valley is still fire free at this time, as far as the Tribune is aware.

5.40pm: Leary's Lane fire at Grabben Gullen is being controlled and has been downgraded from Emergency to Watch and Act.

5.21pm: Jugiong fire now 450 hectares.

5.16pm: Swinging winds and temp of 33 degrees.

5.10pm: Jugiong fire updated to emergency. 400 hectares burnt as far as we can tell.

4.52pm: Starting to rain in Yass town.

4.46pm: More trucks from the region responding to the Berremangra fire.

4.29pm: Fire fighters going along Pomeroy Road near Grabben Gullen (Leary Lane fire near Crookwell), warning residents to enact their fire plans.

4.23pm: Wind gusts up to 60km/h hampering efforts to extinguish fire at Gundaroo.

4.12pm: Out of control fire at Jugiong at the intersection of the Hume Highway and Cobbler Road. Five hectares burnt at the moment.

4.05pm: Report of a fire near Berremangra, yet to be verified.

3.50pm: Fire at Gundaroo has broken out again. Crews responding quickly to get on top of it.

3.20pm: Leary's Lane fire at Grabben Gullen listed as Emergency, more info as it comes in.

2.30pm: the village of Tarcutta is currently under threat, with a fire less than one kilometre from the town. Hume Highway closed.

2pm: crews still working on the contained fire between Gunning and Gundaroo. RFS has advised caution as there is smoke causing visibility issues across the road.


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