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Region’s fire situation improves

Friday, 11th January, 2013

Aided by cooler conditions, Far West Rural Fire Service volunteers have all but beaten dozens of fires that have been burning across the region this week.

Acting Incident Controller, Paul Seager, said yesterday that there had been a big improvement in the region’s fire status since a change brought a drop in temperature on Wednesday.

He said of the 55 fires that had been burning in the region since about Monday, 44 had been extinguished and another 10 were at patrol status. One other fire, near Packsaddle, was contained.

“So all of these fires have effectively been controlled or extinguished,” Mr Seager said.

“The cooler weather has definitely assisted firefighters to gain control of many of these fires.”

The fires were burning roughly from the SA border to Cobar and were started by lightning strikes that came through on Sunday.

Mr Seager said it had been a “particularly challenging week” for firefighters, with temperatures in the mid 40s and strong wind coming through on Tuesday.

“It really is very, very difficult conditions.”

He said the fires had burnt through about 40,000 hectares of mostly grass and scrub land.

“The focus for the next 24 hours is to ensure the rest of the remaining fires are fully controlled ahead of warmer weather over the next few days.”

A total fire ban is in force across the state today.

Mr Seager praised the work of everyone involved in the firefighting effort this season, which he described as the busiest in at least a decade.

“It’s been a very large effort.

“The Far West region has had a significant number of fires this year and it’s been a sustained effort by volunteers, land holders and other agencies to get these fires under control.”

Meanwhile, the state’s national parks remain closed while firefighters continue to battle more than 100 fires across NSW.

“The national parks are still closed. It is being reviewed daily but yesterday they said it should be closed for several days,” Acting West Darling area manager, John Holcombe said.

“It is dependent on the weather - it has cooled down yesterday and today but there’s hot weather predicted again.

“The fire weather now is different to what it was this time last year.

“In the past we had quite a high rainfall but this year all those grasses have started to die off so there’s a lot of flammable material around.

“National Parks have been assisting with a lot of fires in the region. There’s been one, for example, at Marrapina (near White Cliffs), that staff have worked on a fire for the last three nights.

“We’ve been getting a lot of enquiries about whether the through roads in the parks are open. Any through roads are still open.”

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