Heat on to contain bushfires

A DELIBERATELY-LIT fire and a dry lighting storm left Canobolas firefighters scrambling across the zone to contain more than a dozen fires over the weekend.

Their first call was to an out-of-control fire at the Fourth Crossing on Ophir Road at 1.20pm on Saturday before a dry lightning storm whipped through the region late in the afternoon.

Rural Fire Service (RFS) Canobolas Zone duty officer Steve Smith said he expected crews to be on scene at the fires for at least the next few days.

“We were smashed pretty hard ... we had a total of 15 fires, possibly 16,” he said late Sunday afternoon.

“We’re working our tails off given the current heat.

“The fire control centre is being manned by 10 personnel and we’re waiting for additional personnel, given the amount of lightening strikes affecting our area.”

The Ophir Road fire burnt 12 hectares of forest, but was under control as of Sunday afternoon, when RFS crews were keeping an eye out for smoke from the nearby Mullion Creek State Forest.

Canobolas Local Area Command Acting Inspector Yonneka Hill said the Ophir Road fire was under investigation.

“At this stage it seems to have been deliberately lit and suspicious,” she said.

“There was no damage, no injuries and no evacuations.

“Police utilised a traffic management system and blocked off roads while the RFS was putting the fire out.”

A RFS fire investigator was on scene on Saturday to investigate and police were expected to survey the scene on Sunday.

Seven tankers, 30 RFS personnel and 20 Cadia Valley Operations (CVO) staff fought a 30-hectare fire started by dry lightening on CVO land at Panuara at 11am on Sunday morning.

Crews remained on-site all day and eventually contained the timber fire, which was still burning late in the afternoon.

At Nashdale, it took RFS crews from Canobolas, Nashdale, Lidster and Borenore all of Saturday night to bring a six-hectare scrub fire under control when it broke out at 12:30am.

The fire was caused by three lightening strikes within 300 metres, Mr Smith said.

On Sunday morning RFS crews handed it over to the landowner to watch with a tanker onsite if needed.

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