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Strong winds fan valley fires

Lynne Mowbray |

A bushfire emergency was declared in the Clarence Valley during the weekend as strong winds and extremely dry conditions saw a number of fires escape containment.

RFS district manager Clarence Valley Superintendent Stuart Watts said that (as of Monday morning) there were around 20 fires burning around the Clarence Valley.

“The ones that are of concern at the moment are the Middle Creek fire, particularly the area around Lanitza where we have resources on the ground and the other area is at Whiteman Creek (east of Copmanhurst – north of The Clarence Way which is burning out of control),” Superintendent Watts said.

“Those two fires are the biggest concern to us as they are closer to property.

“We have resources on the ground and also in the air, supporting those fires.

“The other fires that we have (burning) will be attended to once we gain the upper hand on those two major fires.

“We’ve currently got a strike team out of Sydney consisting of five tankers and 23 volunteers and also a strike team from Fire+Rescue NSW, which is made up of four tankers and 17 fire fighters from the Northern Rivers area.

“In the air we have the single seater (water) bombers as well as the Large Air Tanker (LAT), which has been deployed to the fire around the Lanitza area.

“The conditions, until we get rain, are still looking pretty negative, but the conditions over the next few days aren’t expected to be as windy.

“The wind is anticipated to turn around to the come from the south-west, so that will put a bit of pressure on the northern side of any fire.

“Most of our local RFS brigades are assisting with the fires and are a little worn out and fatigued at this point in time, hence the reason why we brought crews in from out of area.

“We have a total of two strike teams, which I mentioned before, 25 local brigades and around 150 people on the ground, (assisting with fires in the valley at the moment),” he said.