Tabulam Rural fire captain Art Sorrenti takes on the necessary supplies with the help of Tabulam News general store employee Leonie Firkin before heading back into the thick of the action.
Tabulam Rural fire captain Art Sorrenti takes on the necessary supplies with the help of Tabulam News general store employee Leonie Firkin before heading back into the thick of the action. Jacklyn Wagner

Firefighters race to backburn

FIREFIGHTERS across the Northern Rivers are racing against the clock to get backburns and containment lines in place before a return to bad fire weather, forecast for later in the week.

Cooler conditions have helped bring under control large fires burning at Mt Lion and Paddys Flat in the Kyogle local government area, and Cudgen, on the Tweed.

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“We are burning out all available fuel within containment lines while there is mild weather,” Rural Fire Service public liaison officer David Stimson said yesterday.

Aerial bombing with glycol pellets, which ignite on impact, has been used to successfully burn out sections on the south-eastern and north-eastern sides of the Paddys Flat fire.

The pellets are used in rugged terrain where on-the-ground access is not possible.

Fires at Doneden near Toonumbar, Bean Creek and Mills Road near Urbenville, Mt Brown north-west of Kyogle, and Tunglebung near Bonalbo, were being controlled by firefighters at the weekend and were not expected to cause any further trouble.

On the Tweed the Pinnacles fire also was under control.

Three strike teams were mobilised under section 44 of the Emergency Services Act to assist with firefighting in the Tweed and Kyogle shires after local crews became exhausted from around-the-clock fighting.

Yesterday four new fires were sparked around Rappville Road, south of Casino. A shed and tractor were destroyed in the fires.

The Summerland Way was also temporarily closed because of smoke over the road. The fires were considered suspicious and are being investigated.

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Neale Fraser said Wednesday would see the return of more bad fire weather with high temperatures, low humidity and no rain.

Conditions on the Northern Tablelands, west of Kyogle, were expected to be particularly bad, he said.

The drought factor for Lismore is currently 10 out of a possible 10.

Professor Mark Adams, from the Bushfire Co-operative Research Centre, said there was an indirect link between bushfires and global warming.

“In every area of Australia the forecast for the climate is drier and warmer,” Prof Adams said.

The drier and hotter conditions would see a greater number of bushfires ignite, he said.

A large amount of smoke is expected to sheathe sections of the Northern Rivers today when the backburning of 18,000ha of scrub near Rivertree, north-east of Tenterfield, gets under way.


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