Manildra and Cumnock blazes beaten as Orange escapes worst of fires

THE FRONT LINE: RFS crews and local residents ready themselves for the onslaught near Dunedoo on Monday. Photo: NICK MOIR
THE FRONT LINE: RFS crews and local residents ready themselves for the onslaught near Dunedoo on Monday. Photo: NICK MOIR

ORANGE and its surrounding area avoided the worst of the bushfires that on Monday devastated corners of the Central West.

Crews from Canobolas Zone NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) were called to a grass fire near Manildra on Monday morning.

The blaze was initially graded ‘Watch and Act’ as it threatened homes and properties near its point of origin on Yellowbox Road.

But at about 12pm a post on the NSW RFS Facebook said “firefighters have gotten the upper hand” in their battle with the fire and there were “no properties under direct threat”.

At that point the fire was under control and was downgraded to the lower an ‘Advice’ level on the NSW RFS website.

That effort came less than a day after Canobolas Zone crews extinguished a grass fire near Cumnock.

More than 120 volunteers armed with tankers and aircraft fought the 360-hectare blaze near Avondale Road and were able to contain it within three hours on Sunday evening.

A statement on the Canobolas Zone NSW RFS Facebook page read: “it was only due to the swift and heavily-weighted response of volunteers in horrific conditions that this dangerous and fast-moving grass fire was able to be contained”.

The RFS confirmed two firefighters were hurt fighting that fire. Both were treated immediately and sustained no serious injuries.

The NSW Rural Fire Service has said 12 homes have been destroyed by the Sir Ivan fire east of Dunedoo, with 80 per cent of the fire zone yet to be assessed.

As of late Monday it had burnt 50,000 hectares and razed five homes in the village of Uarbry, along with another 15 outbuildings and a church.

About 400 people attended a community meeting at Coolah Sporting Club – which has served as an evacuation centre – on Monday morning.

Warrumbungle Shire Mayor Peter Shinton said RFS, police and council personnel were all present to bring the community up-to-speed .

“Emotions are all over the place,” Cr Shinton said.

The fire is yet to be brought under control.