Blue Mountains fires burn out of control

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Blackheath fire, which has been burning for nine days

Two large fires in the New South Wales Blue Mountains, West of Sydney are burning out of control in difficult fire fighting conditions.

The first, a 8,000 hectare blaze near Blackheath, which has been burning for nine days broke containment lines at 11 PM AEDT on Monday. Fire crews had been attempting to contain the fire before the onset of difficult conditions today.

Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service said fire fighters had made a brave effort to contain the fire. When the fire jumped containment lines, around 95 percent of the fire had been contained.

"They've worked extremely hard now for six days but probably their most herculean effort was last night," My Koperberg said.

"They were down on the Grose River working in atrocious conditions as a last-ditch stand ... and they nearly got there.

"They had several metres still to go when it became too hot and we had to evacuate them because it would have endangered them."

A second fire has begun burning on a 5 km (3 mile) front, along the Putty Road near Wiseman's Ferry . It is thought that the fire could affect the village of St Albans.

With temperatures in the high 30 degree Celsius range and winds around 50 km/h (31 Mph), fire fighters are bracing for the worst in the Blue Mountains over the next few days. It is feared forecasted wind gusts of up to 80 km/h (49 Mph) overnight could fan the first fire into the township of Winmalee as it heads East.

Related Wikinews

"Fire crews race to contain Blue Mountains, NSW fires before Tuesday" — Wikinews, November 19, 2006



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