NSW Rural Fire Service crews are investigating the cause of a blaze about 20 kilometres from Orange, which may have been deliberately lit.
As of Monday morning the fire near Freemantle Road at Gowan, east of Ophir, had burnt through 48 hectares, with NSW RFS Canobolas Zone operations officer Brett Bowden confirming the origin was “suspicious”.
“The cause is undetermined, but we don’t think it is lightning,” he said.
Seven crews from the Canobolas and Chifley RFS zones continued containment efforts on Monday morning, with the fire status reduced to ‘under control’ on the Fires Near Me website.
Mr Bowden said while the blaze was contained, high temperatures predicted for Monday and remainder of the week, coupled with last week’s lightning, meant crews remained on high alert across the region.
“While there was rain it wasn’t substantial – particularly in Blayney,” he said.
Mr Bowden said the dry conditions meant trees struck by lightning last week were at risk of igniting if predictions of temperatures in the mid- to high-30s eventuated.
Wednesday and Thursday are forecast to reach a sweltering 37 degrees Celsius in Orange, with Tuesday (34 degrees) and Friday (35 degrees) not too far behind.
Mr Bowden asked the public to support crews over the next few days by not using power tools during the heat of the day.
“If you do see smoke rising throughout the day notify triple zero so we can tend to them as soon as possible,” he said.
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