Battle to contain fires before heat returns

Firefighters have been backburning overnight to try and contain several major bushfires across NSW, taking advantage of the cool temperature before hot, windy weather sets in again.
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There are 126 bushfires burning across the state, including 15 that are not contained, on Thursday morning.

Over 1000 Rural Fire Service volunteers are working, using more than 80 firefighting aircraft and 360 trucks.

RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said firefighters are trying to contain the blazes before dangerous fire conditions return on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“When you’ve got more hot air dominating much of the state, which is already very dry and vegetation is highly susceptible to ignition and spread of any existing fire, that’s a real challenge to firefighters,” Mr Fitzsimmons told Sky News.

“We’re going to be working very closely with the weather authorities to make sure we’re identifying those most severe of conditions and those areas of concern.

“I expect to see more total fire bans across Friday and certainly into Saturday as these hot weather patterns dominate much of NSW.”

Crews were backburning at the Deans Gap fire, in the Shoalhaven on Wednesday night, but it has not been contained.

That fire has burnt through more than 5700 hectares of land.

Residents in Wandandian, Sussex Inlet, and those south of the coastal villages, are advised to remain vigilant and keep up to date with information.

Firefighters also spent the night backburning at the Cobbler Road fire, near Yass, to establish and strengthen containment lines around the blaze, which has burnt through 14,000 hectares and killed thousands of animals.

A bushfire continues to burn about 20 kilometres east of Cooma, in the state’s south, and residents are advised to stay informed.

A fire at Lithgow, which police believe was deliberately lit, is under control, but smoke is still affecting the town and the Bells Line of Road.

Mr Fitzsimmons said people in bushfire prone areas need to stay alert, and not always expect a warning message from the RFS.

“Some fires will start, they will take hold and they will spread so quickly that they could be impacting on people before someone’s even had a chance to report it to triple-0, or certainly before the fire engine is able to get on scene.

“Until someone’s got that crystal ball that can tell us exactly where that fire is going to be, and start, and exactly what time it’s going to be, that’s a reality of life.”

Total fire bans are in place in the North Western and Northern Slopes regions.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

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