Southern Tablelands firefighters head north to help with Bees Nest Fire

Southern Tablelands firefighters head north to help with the Bees Nest Fire in Armidale. Photo: NSW RFS
Southern Tablelands firefighters head north to help with the Bees Nest Fire in Armidale. Photo: NSW RFS

Sixteen firefighters from the Southern Tablelands are assisting with the northern New South Wales bushfires.

The members of the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) will help local brigades fight the Bees Nest Fire, west of Dorrigo in Armidale.

Southern Tablelands firefighters joined the battle line on Wednesday morning as the fire burned close to homes and properties.

The fire was still out of control and had burnt more than 78,000 hectares by Thursday morning.

The sixteen firefighters were deployed to battle the blaze overnight on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, returning on Saturday, RFS Southern Tablelands Zone operational officer Daniel Osborne said.

A bushfire burns near Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport in Queensland. Photo: NSW RFS

A bushfire burns near Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport in Queensland. Photo: NSW RFS

He said it was more than likely more firefighters from the Southern Tablelands would be sent to the northern NSW and Queensland bushfires.

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"I'd be very surprised if there weren't more requests for assistance in the next few weeks," Mr Osborne said.

Mr Osborne returned on Wednesday from the bushfire in Stanthorpe, QLD, where several homes and properties were lost or significantly damaged.

RFS Southern Tablelands Zone operational officer Daniel Osborne (middle back) travels to Queensland to assist with the bushfires. Photo: NSW RFS

RFS Southern Tablelands Zone operational officer Daniel Osborne (middle back) travels to Queensland to assist with the bushfires. Photo: NSW RFS

He was deployed on Friday morning in preparation for bushfires in QLD, although no fires had broken out at that time.

By Friday afternoon the blaze was raging and it was all hands on deck.

"It was very challenging," Mr Osborne said.

He was the only person sent from the Southern Tablelands to QLD and was acting as a public information officer.

His role was to provide information and warnings to the public and liaise with the media.

"It was a very fast moving and intense bushfire burning under catastrophic conditions. Properties and lives were threatened," Mr Osborne said.

"The community was well aware of that and appreciative of the warnings we issued. As a result, no lives were lost."

Mr Osborne said these bushfires were a sign of things to come in the Southern Tablelands.

"Our local community should take what's happened in the past week as an absolute warning of what's potentially coming for the Southern Tablelands in the coming months," Mr Osborne said.

"This weekend is Get Ready Weekend and I would encourage all residents to engage with their brigade to prepare their families and properties for a bushfire.

"We've undertaken a lot of training of volunteers this year and in previous years and I feel we're in a good position to serve our community, but the responsibility is always on the landholders to be prepared," Mr Osborne said.

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