Fire ground at Coombadjha.
Fire ground at Coombadjha. Graham Mackie

'Horrendous' fires barrel through Coombadjha

COOMBADJHA landowner for the past 15 years and Clarence Valley artist Graham Mackie said the fires up his way have been "horrendous".

"I've never seen anything like it before. It's the worst fire by far and the water level the worst by far in memory. We've got no water."

"Even my neighbour said it's the worst he's ever seen. And he's been up here since he was a kid. He's 69."

Mr Mackie said while it was "not too bad" at his property (90kms west of Grafton on the Mann River) "it's not real flash out there".

"We have a lot of open areas and have been pretty lucky (with the wind) but Fred Morgan (neighbouring landowner) has had 90 per cent of his pastures burned out."

"The fire went out the back behind me and burned all that area so we've been out fixing all the fences. It went around on top of the ridges and kept away from down in this area. The cattle just move away. They are all good apart from a few (injured) that went through the fences."

 

Carnham fire.
Carnham fire. Graham Mackie

Mr Mackie said all the landowners have been in preparation mode since Friday calling each other and making sure everyone is okay.

"We've got two houses (where I am) which are both fine. We've got all the fire fighting gear ready to go. We've got our own real fire truck. The worst thing that can happen is the wind to change and get up to over 60kms/h. As I speak it's just picked up."

 

Smoke over Washpool State Forest has been a familiar sight for past two months.
Smoke over Carnham. Graham Mackie

Mr Mackie said fires had been burning up there for two months "out the back of the state forest (Washpool). It's a real worry because if the wind comes down nor-west we'll cop it again.

"I've been down to Wave Hill and Gordonbrook (stations) and could see the fire trickling down the top of the gorge. When the wind gets up it that will take off. There have been walls of smoke here for the past four days."

 

Smoke over Washpool State Forest has been familiar sight for days.
Smoke over Washpool State Forest has been familiar sight for days.

He said they have had the power out since Friday relying on generators to ensure the creature comforts can be maintained among the testing conditions.

"Everyone's got a generator and home-made fire pumps that sort of thing."

"We're all going okay. We still have plenty to drink. That's why they invented beer and why we had to get the generators going. The first thing to check was making sure the beer fridge was still going."