Backburning file photo
Backburning file photo Clive Lowe

Dry heat sparking fire fears for Valley

STUART Watts may be one of the only people in the Clarence Valley hoping for a wet summer.

Superintendent Watts is the district manager of the Valley's Rural Fire Service. He said extremely dry conditions led to a busy August.

RFS crews attended 140 incidents in the past month, he said, and the Byram Keetch Drought Index - which the RFS uses to measure how dry it is - painted a grim picture.

"At the moment the BKDI is saying the drought factor in the Clarence Valley is 130 out of 200," Mr Watts said.

"Obviously you never reach 200, but this time last year it was 124."

Mr Watts said while these weather patterns were typical for spring, the lack of rain was causing concern.

While there are 11 fires blazing across the Clarence Valley, there have been no reports of property damage.

Just south of Ilarwill at Repeater Station Rd, a 130ha fire in bush and grass is under control.

Mr Watts said the cause of the blaze was unknown and would be investigated.

South of the intersection of Kungala Rd and the Pacific Hwy, a massive 1291ha area has also burned out.

Mr Watts said a controlled burn reignited and broke containment lines but had since been controlled.

The remaining fires are understood to be in relatively remote areas and Mr Watts said they would be gradually contained by RFS, State Forest and national park firefighting teams.

"This time last year we were on the second of three bushfire states of emergency," Mr Watts said.

He said closer adherence with the fire permit system had improved the situation on previous years.

Fire locations

  • Mount Hyland Nature Reserve, Frenchmans Fire, 2300ha
  • Mount Hyland Nature Reserve, Sheas Gravel Pit, 183ha
  • Mount Hyland Nature Reserve, Chandlers, 30ha
  • Armidale Rd, 3 Mile Swamp, 50ha
  • Armidale Rd, Blacklands Ck, 50ha
  • Kangaroo Ck Rd, 664ha
  • Kungala Rd, Rediger Close, 1291ha
  • Old Grafton Rd, Rockview Road Fire, 726 ha
  • Candole State Forest, 941 ha
  • Ilarwill, Repeater Stn Rd, 130ha
  • Coaldale Rd, Fortis Ck, 303ha


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