Fire crews battle the blaze.
Fire crews battle the blaze. Frank Redward

Fire crews work to bring Purgatory Ck blaze under control

RURAL Fire Service crews had favourable conditions earlier today, however winds have picked up and resulted in an increase in activity at a fire around 16km north-west of Grafton.

Currently listed at advice status, the blaze near Jackadgery at Purgatory Crk has burnt around 1100ha.

RFS spokeswoman Anglea Burford said conditions eased overnight and into this morning, however winds have picked up this afternoon, resulting in an increase of fire activity.

"Favourable conditions last night and earlier this morning allowed firefighers on the ground work to achieve their containment strategies, and fire crews remain on the scene and are working to contain the fire," Ms Burford said.

"We saw a drop in temperatures this morning which favoured firefighters on the ground and we will continue to monitor conditions."

"Conditions can change quite quickly, so fire crews are trying to make the most of the good conditions at the moment."

RFS public liaison Angela Daly said there was still a lot of work to be done to contain the Purgatory Creek fire to the south-west of Grafton.

"That fire isn't under control yet and after those challenging conditions from yesterday it took a run to the east," she said.

Wind gusts of up to 40km/h exacerbated the fire ground late Tuesday afternoon. However, by the evening, conditions eased, allowing crews to get back in and assess the area.

"Today the focus is on identifying containment lines and working with property owners to ensure they are prepared," Ms Daly said.

"Crews are also being assisted by one dozer and a number of aircraft to slow fire progression."

At this stage, it is unknown if any homes or structures have been destroyed in the blaze.

While four other fires are burning in the Clarence Valley local government area, Ms Burford said the Purgatory Crk blaze was the priority for the RFS.

Residents are reminded to be aware of the bushfire danger and know their bushfire plans if conditions change.

The Gwydir Highway is closed in both directions between Grafton and Glen Innes due to a bushfire. Old Grafton Road and Old Glen Innes Road also remain closed between Glens Creek Road and Mann River, and  Summerland Way is still closed between Leeville and Whiporie due to bushfires.

Motorists are advised to avoid these areas. Motorists who need to travel can use the Pacific Highway, the Bruxner Highway and the New England Highway instead but will need to allow plenty of extra travel time.



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