The Rural Fire Service is battling two blazes in the Tenterfield area.
The Rural Fire Service is battling two blazes in the Tenterfield area. Barclay White

Backburns planned as firefighters struggle to control blaze

UPDATE, Wednesday, 6.25am: A BUSHFIRE burning in the Catarrh Creek Rd, Torrington area, has now burnt more than 3400 hectares and is still not under control.

The Rural Fire Service posted an update on its website this morning.

"Fire conditions continued to ease overnight which has allowed firefighters to undertake a number of backburns across the fireground. This work will continue today," the update explains.

"People in the area of Torrington, Stannum and Pyes Creek will notice an increase of fire activity as these backburns are undertaken.

"Winds this morning are likely to shift from west south west to being from the east.

"This will assist firefighters in the area of Pyes Creek however is likely to push smoke back over Torrington.

"Catarrh Creek Road is currently closed."

Residents are advised to put their Bush Fire Survival Plans into action. If you do not have a Bush Fire Survival Plan, know what you will do if the fire threatens your property.

 

UPDATE 5.25pm: A LARGE fire burning south west of of Tenterfield has been upgraded to a watch and act by the authorities.

Rural Fire and Rescue have alerted the public that the fire burning at Catarrh Creek Rd, Torrington, has burnt almost 3000 ha as firefighters work to control the blaze.

"The fire is burning within the Torrington State Conservation Area to the north of Torrington Road and to the west of Red Hill Road," The RFS website states.

"Fire activity has increased particularly on the north-eastern side of the fire ground. This is generating a number of embers that are falling in the Pyes Creek Area. Whilst there are a number of isolated properties in the area firefighters are positioned to protect them if required.

"West to south westerly winds continue to push the fire in an easterly and north easterly direction towards the Pyes Creek and Red Hill Road area."

Catarrh Creek Road is currently closed.

Residents in the area are being urged to put their Bush Fire Survival Plan into action. If you do not have a Bush Fire Survival Plan, know what you will do if the fire threatens your property.

Residents in the area of Pyes Creek should monitor conditions and take advice from firefighters in the area.

Well prepared and actively defended homes can offer safety during the fire.

UPDATE, 2.05pm: NORTHERN Tablelands Rural Fire and Rescue's public liaison officer Angus McDowall said crews were working on consolidating the fires on the north eastern side of the blaze.

"We've got westerly winds forecast this afternoon but it will swings to the east tomorrow to cool down significantly," he said.

"We're looking to back burn tomorrow to contain the fire from the eastern side.

"There's slightly less stronger winder this afternoon forecast than yesterday, but still form the west."

Despite concerns last month during the Tabulam fires about a lack of water resources, the RFS spokesman confirmed it wasn't a problem for the Torrington fires.

"Fortunately, there's quite a few old mine site dams nearby, the helicopters have been filling up from there," he said.

"Our crews on the ground are also filling from there.

"Our fixed wing planes are filling up from the Glenn Innes airport."

 

UPDATE, 1.50pm: FIREFIGHTERS are still battling two bushfires in the Tenterfield area, as temperatures continue to soar.

Crews are controlling the Catarrh Creek Rd fire at Torrington, after about 2085 ha burnt overnight.

Meanwhile, the fire further north at Silent Grove Rd has burnt now burnt 171 ha but is under control.

Catarrh Creek Road remains closed.

Residents in the area are being urged to put their Bush Fire Survival Plan into action.

Residents in the area of Pyes Creek should monitor conditions and take advice from firefighters in the area.

Landholders in the vicinity of the fireground, especially along Red Hill Rd, should also consider moving stock to a heavy grazed paddock with access to water.

More to come.

 

Original story: FIREFIGHTERS are calling in extra resources to help battle two blazes in the Tenterfield area.

The Catarrh Creek Rd fire at Torrington has already burnt more than 1300 hectares of land, while a fire further north at Silent Grove Rd has burnt 157 hectares.

On its website, the Rural Fire Service explained that crews worked overnight to identify containment lines and slow the spread of the fire.

"Whilst there are a number of isolated properties in the area firefighters are positioned to protect them if required," the website says.

"Very High Fire Danger is forecast for the area, with west to north westerly winds.

"This will push the fire in an easterly direction towards the Pyes Creek and Red Hill Road area.

"Under these conditions, fires can be difficult to control.

"Embers may be blown ahead of the fire, creating spot fires. These spot fires may threaten your home earlier than the predicted main fire front."

Bryan Daley from the RFS told ABC North Coast it's believed the blazes were started by lightning strikes.

"The Catarrh Creek Rd fire is quite significant and burning in a north easterly direction under strong winds," he said.

"It's really difficult granite country... and hard to get containment lines in place."

Mr Daley said a Section 44 in the Rural Fires Act had been declared, meaning the RFS could call in extra resources to "try to pull these fires up".

"We'll have hot weather again today and winds up to 25km/h so we need to throw everything we can at it," Mr Daley told the ABC.

"Preparation is always the best advice. Make a decision really early whether to stay or go."

For more information visit the RFS website.