Fire crews are continuing to monitor hot spots at the Moonbria Rd fire near Jerilderie, with authorities uncertain how today's hot weather and wind could affect the situation.January 10, 2013 8:30am
UPDATE, 8.45am, Friday, January 11: Fire crews continued to monitor hot spots at the Moonbria Rd fire near Jerilderie overnight, and are preparing for a “bad day” today.
Mid Murray Zone Rural Fire Service manager Superintendent Lindsay Lashbrook says what the fire will do today is “an unknown”.
“It has been contained in the lines, but with the winds forecast for mid-afternoon we need to do everything we can to keep it that way.
“The latest from the Bureau of Meteorology is that by about 3pm we’ll have north westerly winds of between 35km/h and 50km/h – it’s not good fire conditions.
“Today is a day of extreme fire danger, and it’s going to be a long one.
“There is also a risk of other fires starting across the region.”
About 20 fire tankers are on scene this morning, along with heavy machinery to continue consolidating containment lines and fire breaks.
Local fire crews will be relieved by two strike force teams coming from Victoria by mid-morning. Each will have at least five tankers and 20 firefighters.
UPDATE, 8.30am Thursday January 10: The NSW Rural Fire Service has described to Moonbria Rd fire near Jerilderie as having “not a lot of activity” this morning.
Mid Murray Zone community safety officer Inspector Doug Adamso says it has been reduced to just “smouldering in amongst the timber” along the Yanco Creek.
“It was very quiet overnight with only three crew monitoring the fire.
“The northern section is pretty safe.
“There is a dozen crew this morning, including some from the Southern Border brigade in Albury.
“There’s not a lot of activity at all.”
Insp Adamson says today’s efforts will be concentrated on the small amount of activity on the southern side of the Yanco Creek.
He says northerly winds and temperatures in the low 40s predicted for tomorrow are causing some concern.
If the fire is not “cleaned up” before then, there is a possibility of the fire re-sparking and getting away again.
Today’s conditions are “alright”, Insp Adamson said.
At this stage, an evacuation of Jerilderie is still unlikely.
Today is a day of low to moderate fire danger, meaning there is no total fire ban today. A fire danger forecast for tomorrow will be issued this afternoon.
UPDATE, 5.16pm Wednesday January 9: Back-burning to consolidate control lines on the southern border of the Moonbria Rd fire near Jerilderie began this afternoon.
Mid Murray Zone Rural Fire Service manager Superintendent Lindsay Lashbrook says it will go a long way in keeping the fire controlled.
“By late this evening we should have the fire pretty well controlled.We will continue to work on it overnight.”
Supt Lashbrook says he is so confident the fire is contained, fire crews should start to reduce in number by tonight.
He says 130 firefighters from across the region have been on the scene today.
By tonight he says that number may be dropped by about 25 per cent, and down to about 75 firefighters for tomorrow.
At this stage, tomorrow is not expected to be a day of total fire ban. Predictions are the fire danger warning will be low-moderate.
Tomorrow’s weather prediction is for a top of 32⁰C and easterly winds tending north east in the afternoon.
UPDATE, 3.16pm: Heavy machinery is being used to push down the burning timber along the Yanco Creek, according to the latest information from the NSW Rural Fire Service.
Mid Murray Zone manager Lindsay Lashbrook says felling the trees will hopefully ensure no flying embers ignite.
Supt Lashbrook is still confident the fire has been contained, but says ongoing monitoring and work is needed.
He says tomorrow’s efforts may include some back-burning, in anticipation of a change in wind direction to the north-west by Friday, and the return of hotter temperatures.
There is still active fire on the south side of the fire area.
There is still no damage to infrastructure, and an evacuation of Jerilderie is still on hold.
UPDATE, 1.17pm: About 12km of timber lining Yanco Creek is burning, according to NSW Rural Fire Service Mid Murray Zone manager Superintendent Lindsay Lashbrook.
Supt Lashbrook said the fire crossed the creek mid-afternoon yesterday, but is making slow headway against the wind.
The blaze was raging just 15km from Jerilderie yesterday.
It has now burned 3100 hectares, mainly of dryland farming areas.
Today weather is working in firefighters’ favour, with cooler temperatures and a wind change pushing the fire back into itself.
Supt Lashbrook is ‘‘pretty confident’’ the fire will be contained by the end of today, but estimated crews would continue working on the site for three or four days.
Heavy machinery is on the fire ground, including five graders, three escavators, two bulldozers, more than 20 tankers and four aircraft overhead.
About 130 firefighters are battling the blaze.
10.32am: A fire threatening Jerilderie is still burning, but residents are not being evacuated, according to the latest Rural Fire Service update at 10am this morning.
An area of about 250 hectares is still alight.
About 10,000ha has been burned in the Moonbria, Wononga and Steam Plains areas since Monday night.
The fire has not ‘jumped’ the Yanco Creek as was feared yesterday.
A south westerly wind change last night has eased the threat for Jerilderie residents, with Mid Murray Zone Rural Fire Service Superintendent Gary Eason saying an evacuation is not planned ‘‘at this stage’’.
But north westerly winds predicted for tomorrow could mean Jerilderie is threatened again.
Firefighters have been working around the clock. About 25 tankers were on the ground this morning.
Fire bombing planes and other machinery are also being used, and a strike force from Albury is assisting local firefighters.
Today is another day of high fire danger, and Supt Eason says authorities are expecting tomorrow to be ‘‘another bad day’’.
Today is a day of total fire ban for the Riverina.
Another fire update will be posted at noon.
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