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Byron Shire
May 18, 2021

More than 40 still fighting Tenterfield fire

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There is unlikely to be much rest for more than 40 firefighters who spent Sunday night trying to protect Tenterfield residents and their properties from bushfire.

The RFS issued an emergency alert for the area around 2pm Sunday when a spot fire developed in Leechs Gully ahead of a main fire burning north of the township.

Firefighters from Fire and Rescue NSW as well as QLD Fire and Emergency Services helped RFS volunteers fight the fire.

The warning was later downgraded to watch and act status and by nightfall to advice level.

By Monday morning, authorities said conditions had eased.

Tenterfield and Terragon fires still burning Monday

But the fire had already burnt through more than 280 hectares and Tenterfield residents were advised to seek shelter in solid structures and watch for more spot fires.

Earlier this month, bushfires destroyed 26 homes across New South Wales, including one on Mackenzie Road near Tenterfield and and 16 in nearby Drake.

The RFS said firefighters expected to keep working on the latest fire all day Monday and residents on and around Homestead Road, Washpool Creek Road, Mount Lindesay Road, Robinsons Lane and Geyers Road were asked to take advice from volunteers on the ground.

Authorities said a change of weather and water-bombing aircraft should help containment lines today.

Meanwhile, a fire in Terragon that had burnt more than 250 hectares near Uki in the Tweed shire and had been burning all month long, was under control.

The RFS reminded the public to check for updates on the RFS web site or via the Fires Near Me App and to, most impotantly, have a bushfire survival plan.

This report has been corrected. An earlier version said 26 homes were destroyed by fire in Tenterfield but this figure reflects state-wide property loss in early September.

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  1. Ahem, “last month fire in Tenterfield destroyed 26 homes”? A bit more accuracy wouldn’t hurt.

    Is The Echo trying to sensationalise bushfires through exaggeration? Even a brief check of your earlier reports could have made this accurate. Firstly the fire was earlier this month. Secondly (quoting from Echonet Daily 11-9) “Mount McKenzie Road fire, Tenterfield (assessment of area complete)
    › 1 home destroyed, 4 damaged
    › 3 facilities destroyed (two car yards and a pistol club)
    › 15 outbuildings destroyed, 10 damaged”

    Maybe the 26 houses lost was the total losses from all the fires in northern NSW (5) plus all those in SE Qld at Applethorpe-Stanthorpe Canungra-Springbrook? Still inaccurate and poor.

    • Thanks for picking up on the error, Matthew. Your hunch is almost right: the number 26 is how many NSW homes were destroyed by bushfires earlier this month. The figure doesn’t include any QLD properties destroyed. A genuine mistake though, not an effort to exaggerate or sensationalise. Article now corrected.

  2. Well , I’m confused !
    I checked on the ‘Fires near Me ‘ page on Saturday , which is supposedly the information site for RFS. There is very little information on this site , but I was relieved to see the fire at Tenterfield was
    “under control”, it transpires that it wasn’t . My question is , why havent the RFS extinguished these fires when the conditions allowed it ?
    I don’t believe ‘watch and wait ‘ is an appropriate strategy, as there is no excuse for inaction when rainforests are burning.
    If RFS is not up to the task ,is it time to employ profesional firefighters, who might actually manage to extinguish forest fires and not just rely on burning everything constantly ,and in so doing produce more fire-prone, and much more dangerous landscapes, that must rely on natural rainfall to for any “control” ?

  3. Ken and Barry. Sounds like neither of you have been on a fire ground let alone fought a fire. A bit of respect for the volunteers who risk their health and their lives for the community, and will do it again for you when you need them. Ocassionally some die doing their job as volunteers. They do will with the training and resources available.
    And note, some RFS are employed, which by definition makes them professionals.

    • No one should doubt the courage of fire fighters and “they do will (sic) with the training and resources available” as you say.
      Clearly though, more training and resources are needed.
      Too many hazard reductions get out of control and there are simply not enough feet on the fire ground.
      There is too, another problem.
      Recently a friend of sensitive disposition attended a RFS meeting and found herself surrounded by flesh eating red necks ejaculating nationalist rhetoric.
      Good people will need to be paid to put up with this.


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