Fires blaze across Valley
BILLOWING smoke and burning bush has ushered in the first day of the Clarence Valley Bush Fire Danger Period.
Thirty fire units and countless volunteers worked throughout the day to tackle a number of bush and grass fires that sprung up across the region, on a day when the Bureau of Meteorology issued an extremely high fire danger warning.
An out-of-control bushfire at Wells Crossing had resident Mary Kleynjan particularly worried and with good reason.
"It keeps turning and flaring up again as the winds change direction," she said.
"I can see smoke billowing and I think, 'Are we safe?' "
Only minutes after The Daily Examiner first spoke to her, Mrs Kleynjan had to phone 000 when the fire spotted onto her property.
"We came out and fought it and now there are trucks everywhere," she said later.
"I could see it coming."
The Pacific Hwy was closed in both directions for about two hours as strong winds caused the Wells Crossing fire to spread across the highway.
Lanitza Fire Brigade captain Steve Gardiner, who was monitoring a contained fire at Dinjerra, said just about every truck and available firefighter were on jobs across the Valley.
"It's a combination of no rain, a lot of fuel, high temperatures and winds," he said.
"This is just the start of what's going to be a pretty bad season."
New South Wales Rural Fire Service Clarence Valley district manager Superintendent Stuart Watts said the Clarence was one of 22 regions to start an early season, which usually begins in September.
"In the last fortnight we've seen quite a spike in the number of incidents the Rural Fire Brigade has attended," he said.