Firies winning the Wattle Flat battle

FIREFIGHTERS had gained the upper hand late yesterday on a bushfire  in the Wattle Flat region.

More than 70 Rural Fire Service firefighters, aided by eight aircraft, battled the blaze which was burning one kilometre north west of Wattle Flat.

While an emergency warning was issued to residents shortly before 2.30pm, the immediate threat had passed by 4pm and the blaze was downgraded to a watch and act advice level.

Helicopters and fixed wing water bombers were working on the fire front as the fire continued to move towards the north western corner of Wattle Flat.

Shortly before 5pm yesterday, the fire was 35 hectares in size and was burning in a south to south easterly direction.

Rural Fire Service inspector Craig Davis said crews would carry out backburning operations and construct containment lines overnight.

"We're going okay here," he said. 

"We are bringing in dozers to prepare and build up containment lines."

"I'm comfortable that we will have containment lines established by tonight and start backburning off them."

Inspector Davis said the Rural Fire Service with the assistance of police would be investigating the cause of the blaze.

Rural Fire Service crews also responded to a second fire yesterday afternoon, about five kilometres north of Peel which was under a watch and act advice level and was being controlled. 

During the blaze yesterday afternoon, Wattle Flat Public School was declared as the community safe place.

Chifley Local Area Command, Inspector Luke Rankin said while a number of residents had chosen to self-evacuate their homes on the outskirts of the village, no residences were under threat.

"At the moment the situation is quite safe," Inspector Rankin said late yesterday afternoon.

"But if people aren't feeling safe in their homes then Wattle Flat Public School is the community safe place and there will be regular briefings held here to keep everyone informed of the situation."

While most of the students at Wattle Flat returned to their homes, a few had been kept at the school.

"There was no point sending kids home to areas we were worried about so some of the students have been kept at school," Inspector Rankin said.

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