Major fire comes close to Mid-Western region

WUULUMAN FIRE: Firefighters - many local - have been on scene since Wednesday trying to control a fire burning near Wellington, just kilometres from the Mid-Western region. Photo: NICK GRIMM

WUULUMAN FIRE: Firefighters - many local - have been on scene since Wednesday trying to control a fire burning near Wellington, just kilometres from the Mid-Western region. Photo: NICK GRIMM

Local volunteer firefighters have been among those battling a blaze that burnt about 1500 hectares of grassland near Wellington – just kilometres from the Mid-Western region.

The fire broke out at Wuuluman.

By lunch time on Thursday the fire was still classified as out of control.

Orana Rural Fire Service manager Lyndon Wieland said the fire was still active on the edges, having broken containment during the night.

There were 60 firefighters who worked throughout the night to control the flames, Mr Wieland said, which was cut down to 30 on Thursday.

“We’re preparing for a north north westerly wind tomorrow and that will put pressure on the containment lines,” he said.

The fire is within four kilometres of the local RFS District.

Superintendent Troy Porter of the Cudgegong RFS District said that local personnel and vehicles had been deployed to the fire on Wednesday and Thursday.

“We had 22 that went on [Wednesday] afternoon and another seven there [Thursday],” he said.

“We’ve had 11 vehicles go over and a total of 30 people from 5pm on Wednesday.

“They were doing property protection last night, because the fire behaviour was quite erratic, and assisting dozers trying to get containment lines in.”

He said that even closer to home, volunteers of the Cudgegong RFS District were kept busy on Wednesday with grass fires. 

“We had two fires and we’re still investigating the cause of both of them being a total fire ban.

“One was at Cooks Gap – Winchester Crescent – the other at Growee Gulf out around the Bylong Valley Way.

“Both were grass fires, the Growee Gulf was 10ha and the Winchester Crescent one was 1ha.

Supt Porter added that with 40°C forecast for today, he hopes there’s not more of the same.

“We’re looking at another total fire ban for Friday, there’s some pretty ordinary weather on the way,” he said.

A plane with a 40-metre wingspan, and capable of carrying 15,450 litres of water, has been sent into fight the blaze near Wellington.

‘Thor’ – a Hercules C130 tanker on loan from the United States - is the top gun in the NSW RFS stable of firefighting aircraft and was deployed after the major blaze broke out at Wuuluman.

The dry conditions of late 2016/early 2017 have seen over a dozen grass fires sparked in the local RFS District.

See that story on Page 7.