Firefighters battle a fire burning at Linneaus north of Lennox Head.
Firefighters battle a fire burning at Linneaus north of Lennox Head. Alison Paterson

WATCH: Firefighters on the Lennox Head fire scene

MONDAY 5.00pm: FIRE crews were hard at work blacking out and maintaining containment lines at the Linneaus estate fire north of Lennox Head on Monday.

While smoke billowed across the ebony landscape, a crew from the Wardell Fire Brigade continued to 'put the wet stuff on the hot stuff' and maintain the integrity of the containment lines.

Their blackened faces and uniforms showed their efforts over the past day and night to help keep the Northern Rivers community safe.

Rural Fire Service superintendent David Cook said he was very impressed with the hard work of the volunteer fire crews who worked throughout the night to make the fire safe.

Mr Cook also praised the members of the NSW Fire & Rescue, whom he said made a much appreciated effort.

"Everyone did a marvellous job in very challenging conditions yesterday and last night," he said.

Far North Coast fire controller Bob Wilcox was at the Linneaus fire ground with colleague Leah Ross from Mullumbimby Fire Brigade to undertake investigations as to the cause of the fire.


MONDAY 2.20pm: FIRE crews remain on scene at the Lennox Head  fire. They are currently in black out mode to keep the fire contained.

The fire has burnt 456ha so far.

MONDAY 11.45am: MEANWHILE, Grafton has sweltered its way to the hottest temperature ever recorded in the city.

The Bureau of Meteorology confirmed that the mercury had reached a sizzling 45.8°Celsius at the Grafton Agriculture Research station at 2pm on Sunday. 

Currently Grafton is 27C, while in Lismore the temperature is 29.3C, Ballina is on 29C and Byron Bay is at 30C.


MONDAY 11.10am: A SPOKESPERSON from the Rural Fire Service said the fire at Lennox Head is contained and currently in patrol status.

"Today there are six people working there with two trucks, but overnight they had 45 personnel from Rural Fire Service and Fire & Rescue who worked through to contain the fire in challenging conditions," he said.

"We are still on alert but even with the extra rain on the way we still asking residents to take precautions."

Firefighters used established fire trails and the coast roads as containment lines for the Lennox Head incident.

"We have also sent two crews from the Northern River comprising six firefighters to join in a strike team with Clarence Valley to help out at Kempsey," he said.

RFS also said a Narrabri fire-fighter was injured at the fire on Sunday has been sent to Lismore Base Hospital.


UPDATE MONDAY 10.45am: RELIEF is on the way with showers predicted to hit the Northern Rivers over the next few days.

A Bureau of Meteorology spokesman an extreme weather warning was cancelled on Monday at 12.40am due to the cool change which passed through the region.

"There will be much milder temperatures over the next few days following the cool change," he said.

"Temperatures will be sitting  in the high 20s to the middle of the week and an on-shore airstream should bring some showers to the Northern Rivers over the next few days."

The spokesman said from Thursday a high pressure will develop over the Tasman.

"This will bring back warm northerly winds to NSW but the heat is not expected to be extreme as we have had recently," he said.


Mickey Williams took these photos of the bushfire near Lennox Head.
Mickey Williams took these photos of the bushfire near Lennox Head.

UPDATE MONDAY 6am: FIREFIGHTERS continue to battle a blaze between Lennox Head and Broken Head.

The bush fire, which is burning near Byron Bay Rd, Broken Head to the north of Ballina, has burned approximately 265 hectares and is still being controlled.

At 5.40am today, the NSW Rural Fire Service updated the public on the current situation, stating the fire was burning near Byron Bay Road and Camp Drewe Road.

Firefighters continue to undertake back burning operations this morning, in an effort to strengthen containment lines this morning.

This will produce smoke that may impact local roads and residents around Ballina, Broken Head and Byron Bay, a spokesperson from the RFS said.

Residents are advised to monitor conditions in their area, and to check and follow your Bush Fire Survival Plan.

"If you do not have a plan, decide what you will do if the situation changes. Leaving early is your safest option," the spokesperson said.

Mickey Williams took these photos of the bushfire near Lennox Head.
Mickey Williams took these photos of the bushfire near Lennox Head. Marnie Johnston

Forecast for today:

The Bureau of Meteorology predicts that today's conditions will not be as extreme as those over the weekend.

The BoM said today was set to be cloudy with a 50% chance of showers, most likely late this afternoon and evening.

There is also a chance of a thunderstorm during this afternoon and evening, mainly inland.

Winds southerly 15 to 25 km/h turning southeasterly 25 to 35 km/h in the late morning then decreasing to 15 to 20 km/h in the evening.

Daytime maximum temperatures around 30.


Fire fighters are working to contain a blaze at Broken Head.
Fire fighters are working to contain a blaze at Broken Head.

UPDATE SUNDAY 5pm: CASINO had its hottest day in 50 years with the Casino Airport weather station reporting 45.6 degrees at 2.30pm.

Lismore had its hottest day since January 1956, reporting 42.8 degrees at the airport at 2pm. 

Weatherzone's Brett Dutchke said a cooler change will move through the Northern Rivers just before midnight.  


UPDATE SUNDAY 4pm: THE NSW Rural Fire Service has advised a bushfire at Byron Bay Rd, Broken Head, has expanded to 50 hectares.

The fire began around 11.30pm Sunday and the status of the fire is 'being controlled'.

The RFS is working to contain the blaze by pushing it west.

There are 36 Rural Fire Service fire fighters and 12 tankers at the scene.

Backburning is underway around the Camp Drew fire trail and then back towards the Coast Road.

Three Richmond Local Area Command patrol cars have been dispatched to assist the RFS.

Photo: Marcus Emanuel
Photo: Marcus Emanuel

A police spokesman said Camp Drewe Rd (western road) is closed from its southern end, near Lake Ainsworth.

Lake Ainsworth Sport and Recreation Centre has been evacuated.

North Coast Holiday Park residents are being warned of a potential evacuation.

An RFS spokesman said the fire is not threatening any properties.

"Crews are working extremely hard in difficult conditions to keep the fires contained in a small area," he said.

Lennox Head Residents' Association member and Ross St resident Erika Taylor said a strong northerly wind was pushing smoke south.

"The firies are re-filling their tanks from Ross St and the police are keeping everyone informed.

"The heat is not overwhelming because of the breeze, it's taking away heat from town, but not helping the bushfire.

"There's still people enjoying the lake."

A 1795 ha bushfire burning at Rocky River, Tenterfield, has changed its status to 'being controlled'.

Police are assisting the Rural Fire Service to manage a bushfire at Broken Head. Photo: Erika Taylor.
Police are assisting the Rural Fire Service to manage a bushfire at Broken Head. Photo: Erika Taylor.

UPDATE SUNDAY 1.49pm: THE NSW Rural Fire Service has advised of a 4 hectare out of control bushfire at Byron Bay Rd, Broken Head, just north of Lennox Head.

An RFS spokesman said crews have been dispatched to the site to establish a strategy to contain the fire.

The smoke from this fire is travelling South and the RFS is receiving a number of calls about the smoke from concerned residents in the Broadwater and Evans Head area.

Residents are advised there is no fire in or near the Broadwater National Park at this time.

A 1782 ha bushfire burning yesterday at Rocky River, Tenterfield, has also changed its status to out of control after a break out of confinement.

An out of control grass fire was also reported Ellangowan Rd, Yorklea, near Casino about 12.30pm.

UPDATE SUNDAY 9.30am: FORECASTERS predict temperatures to peak in the mid 40s across the Northern Rivers today.

Weatherzone meteorologists said Ballina expects 36, Kyogle 44, Grafton 43, Alstonville 40, Bangalow 36, Nimbin 43, Murwillumbah 37, and Casino 44.

Byron Bay and Tweed Heads will experience sea breezes and tops of 32 and 28, respectively.

At 10am Sunday, Casino registered 38.8 degrees, 6 degrees higher than the same time yesterday.

"The thing about this heat is it's sticking around for the day and the maximum temperatures will possibly be as late as 4 and 5pm," meteorologist Joel Pippard said.

An extreme fire danger warning and total fire ban remains in place for the North Coast, including Ballina, Byron, Clarence Valley, Kyogle, Lismore, Tweed and Richmond Valley.

At 5am on Sunday, NSW Rural Fire Service advised there were 76 bush or grass fires burning across NSW, 21 of those not contained.

A 3200 ha bush fire is burning at Clover Gully, Liston, and a 1782 ha bushfire is under control at Rocky River, Tenterfield.

Essential Energy crews are investigating power outages is affecting 28 customers on Pinchin and Keerrong Rds, near Goolmangar, with power expected to be turned on by 11am.

Late Saturday Kyogle Rural Fire Brigade responded to reports of large bonfire in Edenville, and reminded residents a total fire ban is in place this weekend.

Catastrophic conditions are forecast for the Greater Hunter, Central Ranges and North Western areas.

RFS commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons described the situation as the "worst possible", with the danger rating "off the old conventional scale", residents in catastrophic conditions urged to evacuate.

UPDATE SATURDAY 5pm: THE FAR North Coast's fire danger alert has been increased from Very High to Severe for areas including Ballina, Byron, Clarence Valley, Kyogle, Lismore and Richmond Valley.

A Catastrophic fire danger alert has been issued for the Greater Hunter Central Ranges and North Western areas.

NSW RFS warned residents in those areas to evacuate their homes this evening or very early tomorrow morning, otherwise their safety "cannot be guaranteed".

Several NSW National Parks have closed.

A hobby farmer has today reported temperatures of 50 degrees in an orchard at Marom Creek, on the border of Ballina and Lismore.

Golda Cain, 68, said she used "more than one thermometer" at her 16 acre property to measure the temperature.

"I think we were in a little hot spot," she said.

Weatherzone forecaster Joel Pippard said that temperature was "unlikely", with Ballina only hitting 36.2 degrees today and Lismore 41.6.  

Mrs Cain said meteorologists should "come out to our orchid and measure it some time".

A hobby farmer sent in this photo to report temperatures of 50 degrees at Marom Creek on Saturday.
A hobby farmer sent in this photo to report temperatures of 50 degrees at Marom Creek on Saturday.

"If you go into the orchard, you definitely know - the sweat pours off your face," she said.

"We've got a small pool and it's just turned into a sauna."

Today the hottest temperature in NSW was 47.6 degrees, at Ivanhoe airport in the state's lower west.  

UPDATE SATURDAY 1pm: NSW Rural Fire Service has re-issued a warning of Very High fire danger for the North Coast.

Large areas of NSW are experiencing Very High or Severe fire danger ratings today with the conditions expected to worsen Sunday.

Residents have been advised there are two bush fires at Tenterfield, both under control.

A 3200 ha bush fire is burning at Clover Gully, Liston and a 1782 ha bushfire is under control at Rocky River.

At 11.30am Essential Energy reported crews commenced an investigation into a power outage affecting five customers at Alphadale Rd, Lismore.

Ausgrid has not reported any power outages.



At 1pm, the temperature at Lismore was 37 degrees; Ballina 34, Kyogle 41, Casino 41, and Byron Bay 32.

The Australian Energy Market Operator has issued an alert for a potential lack of power reserve between 2.30pm and 4pm, and between 7pm and 8.30pm today.

NSW Police have urged the public to check on the elderly and those living alone, and not to leave children, the elderly or pets in cars.

The RSPCA have warned pet owners to ensure their animals are hydrated, with English bulldogs, French Bulldogs and Pugs more likely to suffer heatstroke.

The NSW weather bureau is predicting today could become the hottest February day on record for the state.


SATURDAY 8.30am: A HEATWAVE peak is expected across the Northern Rivers on Sunday.

Weatherzone meteorologist Brett Dutschke said temperatures will soar up to 44 degrees.

"There's a good chance of us getting a bit hotter than the maximum provided by the Bureau of Meteorology in Lismore," Mr Dutschke said.

"There's a good chance of reaching 39 at Lismore today and 43 tomorrow."

Ballina expects 35 degrees today and 36 tomorrow; Grafton, 41 today and 44 tomorrow.

Casino expects 42 degrees today and 44 tomorrow, while Byron Bay expects 32 today and tomorrow.

UV Index for Australia as at Saturday, February 11, midday.
UV Index for Australia as at Saturday, February 11, midday.

"The heat has been building over Central Australia for a few weeks and gradually moving east," Mr Dutschke said.

"Now that a cooler change has affected South Australia and Victoria the heat is more focused in eastern NSW.

"The heat has been allowed to intensify because we've had a lot of sunshine each day and we've not had any strong cold fronts for weeks.

"The heat is going to reach its peak tomorrow, with a cooler change coming through on Sunday evening."

Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre will be open late this weekend to help people cope with the heat wave.

They normally shut at 5pm, but will stay open to 7pm on both Saturday and Sunday, opening at 10am on Sunday.

Swimming lessons will finish at midday, when a water slide will open, with entry costs including use of the slide.

Lismore Memorial Baths will also have extended hours, and be open from until 8:30pm on Saturday and Sunday.

In New South Wales, Bourke will endure its 13th days over 40 degrees today and should extend this run to 16 days by Sunday. This would make it their longest spell this hot in 78 years.

Adelaide and Melbourne are both heating about 10 degrees above average today and Adelaide will have another hot one tomorrow, although this spell of heat will not be a long-lived for the southern capitals.

Canberra's next four days will reach the mid-thirties to low-forties and if all days exceed 36, it will be the hottest four day spell in three years.

Sydney is likely to have its 10th day over 35 degrees for the season either today or tomorrow, setting a new record against the city's 158 years of observational history. Western suburbs could have a record-breaking three days over 42 degrees from Friday to Sunday.

Brisbane is forecast to climb above 35 degrees from Saturday to Monday, which would be their hottest three day spell on record during February.

A southerly change will bring a welcome end to this heatwave on Sunday for most areas, although central Queensland will remain hot at the beginning of next week.


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