FIRE AND FEAR
Fireys battle to save houses as state is ablaze
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