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January 18, 2022

Evans Head fire continues to burn, despite rain

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Rain that doused the north coast overnight made little impact on a fire that has burnt out more than 500 hectares in two days in the Bundjalung National Park and former Evans Head Bombing Range.

RFS Northern Rivers spokesperson Daniel Ainsworth told Echonetdaily the area had received just 10-15mm of rain, much less than further north, and that the weather had only served to muddy access tracks meaning no back-burning work would take place today.

‘We picked it up on Saturday evening… from a lightning strike,’ he said.

‘We had five aircraft working on it yesterday, including a DC10, which is a very large aircraft.

‘That’s put a retardant line in preventing the fire from spreading to the west.

But Mr Ainsworth said the use of some of the area as a bombing range in WWII had limited on-ground fire-fighting.

‘There are areas there where the crews know they can’t go off established trails,’ he said.

But he added there was little danger any old ordinance would suddenly explode.

‘It’s really just a safety precaution.’

Neighbours not directly notified

Echonetdaily reader Joe Monks, who lives in Gap Road, said he was surprised that no one either from RFS, National Parks or Defence had warned residents of the nearby threat.

But Mr Ainsworth said firefighters only went door-to-door if properties were directly threatened.

‘We have extensive community engagement in place – we have our own website, where we put information, as well as our Facebook page and our Fires Near Me app.

‘We’ve also been in touch with the media – especially local radio – but we don’t normally go door-to-door unless the fire’s directly at your back door.

‘We also have a direct SMS group covering that area, that people can join.’

‘If people have got concerns they are also welcome to call us directly on 6333 0000,’ Mr Ainsworth said.


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