Rain fails to stifle region's blazes caused by reignition

ROCKVIEW FIRE: One of the aircraft in action at the Barraba Blaze. Photo: Wayne Keel and NSW RFS.
ROCKVIEW FIRE: One of the aircraft in action at the Barraba Blaze. Photo: Wayne Keel and NSW RFS.

SMOKE and heat continue to trouble firefighters working to contain a blaze at Barraba while National Parks and Wildlife Services are controlling a fire which has burned 100 hectares at Dourallie Creek in Walcha.

Not even Wednesday’s rain stifled the fire, and now Rural Fire Service volunteers have to halt backburning until the ground moisture dries up.

Crews will wind back until the ground dries out and burning can start again Tamworth RFS superintendent Allyn Purkiss said.

“Where we are at the moment is that there’s well and truly over 100ml of water required to bring the soil moisture profile back up to full,” he said.

“Because the soil is so dry we’re having issues with reignition and not being able to hold fires where we normally could.

“It is staying and maintaining heat and it’s smouldering for a lot longer."

Numerous fires continue to burn across the region in Bingara, Barraba, Walcha, Warrambungle and Tenterfield.

The Bingara, Tenterfield and Walcha fires are both the result of reignitions from fires volunteers thought were out weeks earlier.

Firefighters are using thermal imaging cameras to catch hot spots and roots that continue to smoulder underground.

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Mr Purkiss expects the fire to double in side before they can begin backburning, and said it won’t be out for at least another week.

He reminds residents that while fire permits likely won’t be suspended, residents should use extreme caution when lighting fires.

“Even though permits will be reactivated, our volunteers are very tired and if they can be considerate of the volunteers making sure fires they have remain under control and safe,” he said.

“Do not leave a fire without being sure it is completely out.”