Fire smouldering at Clearfield near Rappville on Sunday, August 11.
Fire smouldering at Clearfield near Rappville on Sunday, August 11. Susanna Freymark

'Pure stupidity': 100 firefighters battle 20 blazes

WILD winds created a horror weekend as more than 100 firefighters battled dozens of bushfires across the Northern Rivers.

Rural Fire Service Superintendent Boyd Townsend said "pure stupidity" was the cause of the majority of the fires, which resulted from landowner burn-offs.

"The majority of these bushfires were preventable, if people had only considered weather conditions beforehand," he said.

"Most were the result landowners burning off piles of timber or rubbish in their paddocks.

"While a few fires were unfortunate, most were the result of pure stupidity and, in these windy conditions, some fires have got going again.

"All the bushfires will be fully investigated; our local fire investigators will be backed up by a team from Sydney."

Meanwhile, he said "around 20" fires continued to blaze across the North Coast, including a fire at Clearfield Rd near Rappville, which has burned out nearly 4000 hectares.

He said the northern-most part of fire was burning near Myrtle Creek Rd and Clearfield Rd up to Summerland Way to the east.

"The Clearfield fire has impacted on Summerland Way which remains closed between Casino and Grafton due to the danger of smoke and falling trees," Supt Townsend said.

"While it's classified as being controlled, we have some earthmoving equipment to get containment of the fire, which will take a number of days to extinguish.

"Crews have conducted back-burning operations, particularly in the area near Summerland Way, and crews will continue to focus on containing the fire in this area."

Richmond Police District Inspector Chad Deegenaars said a pine plantation in the Clearfield Rd area, worth around $1 million, was engulfed in flames.

Supt Townsend said other fires, including those near Kyogle and Whiporie, were also being monitored closely.

"Firefighters have spoken with a number of property owners in the areas around Elliotts Rd and Myrtle Forest Rd and residents should continue to monitor the situation," he said.

"However, at this stage the train line between Sydney and Brisbane has reopened in the Rappville area and it will continue to be monitored."

Supt Townsend said strike teams for the Far North Coast and further south will provide welcome relief for local crews.

Stay current by checking www.rfs.nsw.gov.au, or call the NSW RFS Bush Fire Information Line on 1800679737.



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