FIRE DANGER: The Bureau of Meteorology and the Rural Fire Service are concerned about hot, windy conditions as fire-fighters aim to control the Long Gully Road Fire near Drake.
FIRE DANGER: The Bureau of Meteorology and the Rural Fire Service are concerned about hot, windy conditions as fire-fighters aim to control the Long Gully Road Fire near Drake. Marc Stapelberg

Lightning strikes could start fresh fires, RFS warns

AFTER a horror weekend which saw flames and embers jump the Bruxner Highway, firefighters are hoping rain predicted on Tuesday will help them control the fire which has already burned nearly 54,000ha.

But according to the Rural Fire Service, the 1mm to 5mm showers and possible thunderstorm predicted by Bureau of Meteorology to hit the Drake area on Tuesday, will be literally a drop in the bucket.

In fact BoM forecaster Bimal Kc said their long-range forecast for the region was dire.

"The extreme fire weather was unprecedented for this time of year," he said.

"Poor relative humidity and the increasing wind speeds make the fire danger very real."

Mr Kc said BoM is expecting winds from 15-25km/h gusting up to 35km/h with temperatures in the mid-20s and a dry wind increasing from 11am to noon on Monday.

"These conditions will continue this evening to ease overnight, but gusts up to 40km/h and a cold-front are expected on Tuesday," he said,.

"There's a high chance of shower activity and chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon."

RFS District Officer Angus McDowall said firefighters were very concerned about possible lightning strikes igniting fresh fires.

"Obviously with how dry the landscape is at the moment, the possibility of new fires starting by dry lightning strike is very concerning," he said.

"Fire-fighters are still working north of the Bruxner Hwy and trying to contain the fire ahead of warm conditions on Monday afternoon."

Conditions for the Long Gully Road Fire for the rest of Monday will continue with fresh to moderate dry north-north-west winds.

Meanwhile, the RFS confirmed fresh strike-teams are continuing to rotate through the region to support local crews who have been on the go since the start of the year.

"We have to remember local crews in this area have not had a real break since the start of 2019 when fires burned at Tabulam and Jumbullum," he said.

"The there were numerous fires across autumn and in winter there were still fires burning.

"We are certainly concerned as the dry forecast combined with dry fuel-loads on the ground mean a real risk of fire," he said.

"Hot windy conditions reduce the ability of firefighters to attack the fire and put in containment lines."

The RFS Fire Near Me webpage said the fire is burning on both sides of the Bruxner Highway to the west of Drake.

The Bruxner Highway is currently closed in some locations, people should check Live Traffic for updates.

"The northern edge of the fire continues to burn in the vicinity of Red Range Rd and Rover Park Rd." the RFS reported.

"The southern edge of the fire continues to burn towards the area of Poverty Point, Surface Hill and Sandy Creek area.

"The threat to homes has eased. Where possible crews will take advantage of favourable conditions to hold containment lines."

Other Information

Drake primary school will be closed on Monday 16 September.

A Disaster Assistance Point will be open at Drake Information Centre, Fairfield Street, Drake between 1pm and 4pm, Monday to Friday.

Tenterfield Disaster Assistance will be open at Tenterfield Council Chambers from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

You can register your details prior to visiting the Evacuation Centre at https://register.redcross.org.au and register for the 'Bushfire in Tenterfield'.

If your life is at risk, call Triple Zero (000) immediately.

Continue to stay up to date with the bush fire situation by checking http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au, listening to your local radio station or by calling the NSW RFS Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737.

For information on road closures, check http://livetraffic.rta.nsw.gov.au. Roads may be closed without warning.