FIRE AND FEAR

Fireys bat­tle to save houses as state is ablaze

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - LINDA SILMALIS AVA BENNY- MOR­RI­SON

AT LEAST one house is be­lieved to have been de­stroyed and dozens of oth­ers are un­der threat as bush­fires swept the state yes­ter­day.

The Ru­ral Fire Ser­vice was brac­ing for the dan­ger­ous con­di­tions to con­tinue through­out last night ahead of a cool southerly change to­day.

It was a chal­leng­ing day for more than 1500 fire­fight­ers from our bor­der with Vic­to­ria all the way to Queens­land with more than 80 fires, of which 67 were out of con­trol at 5pm.

More than 400 fire tankers, trucks, air­craft and other ve­hi­cles were de­ployed across the state, in­clud­ing to fires in the Blue Moun­tains.

A NSW RFS spokes­woman said as­sess­ment teams would be sent fire-af­fected re­gions when safe to do so.

“At this stage there is an un­con­firmed re­port of a house de­stroyed, while dozens of oth­ers are in dan­ger,” an RFS spokesman said. “We won’t know the true im­pact un­til the as­sess­ment teams have been through the ar­eas.”

Many of the fires were started by early-morn­ing thun­der­storms that swept across the state and about 50 were burn­ing at sun­rise.

Sev­eral fire emer­gen­cies were de­clared on the mid­north coast, in­clud­ing Darawank near Forster where the RFS sent two air tankers.

There were re­ports one prop­erty had been lost on Glider Ave at Darawank, where res­i­dents saw flames just 50m from their win­dows.

“They are hav­ing a dread­ful time try­ing to put it out,” res­i­dent Rhonda Wo­j­cikewycz said.

“Ev­ery time they drop the wa­ter on it and go back for more, it flares up again.”

To the south in Tun­curry, a fire be­gan to threaten prop­er­ties around South St.

There were re­ports of power out­ages.

MidCoast Coun­cil mayor David West said evac­u­ated res­i­dents had taken shel­ter at a lo­cal bowl­ing club.

“Ev­ery­one is quite up­set about it. You just don’t know where the fire is go­ing to travel. It is at the mercy of the wind,” he said.

An emer­gency warn­ing was issued for a week-old fire that broke con­tain­ment lines at Mount Ge­orge, near Ta­ree.

A to­tal fire ban has been issued for the Greater Hunter, New Eng­land and north­ern slopes re­gions.

“We’re ex­pect­ing less winds and lower tem­per­a­tures, how­ever there’s no real rain on the hori­zon so the fire dan­ger re­mains for those parts of the state,” an RFS spokesman said.

Fire­fight­ers bat­tle an out-of-con­trol bush­fire on the Lakes Way, Darawank, near Forster. Pic­tures: Nathan Edwards

Smoke hangs over the mid-north coast as seen from Back Beach. Pic­ture: Carl Muxlow

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