MUCH-NEEDED rain on the weekend has proved invaluable to firefighters across the Monaro and Bega Valley, helping crews bring blazes in these areas under control.
Fred Nichols from the Cooma-Monaro Rural Fire Service said cooler conditions and a decent downpour had enabled crews to get the blaze in the Kybeyan Valley, officially known as the Yarrabin fire, under control.
It also allowed tired volunteers to have a rest.
“Fatigue was a concern, but the break in the weather on Sunday has given us the means to deal with that,” Mr Nichols said.
“Temperatures were much cooler on Sunday and we received around 10mm of rain in the affected area.
“Volunteers from the Cooma-Monaro RFS have been on the ground since the fire broke out last Tuesday, however we have been working closely with crews from NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) so that’s enabled us to rotate crews.
“On Sunday the NPWS took charge of mopping up and blackening the edges of the fire perimeter and our RFS volunteers had a rest.
“We also had a strike team made up of RFS crews from the Bega Valley up here over Saturday and Sunday so that helped too.
“While the rain will delay the planned back-burning strategy, it will increase the probability of success of direct attack by ground and helicopter crews.
“Planning for this week has identified options for direct attack on the southern and northern flanks of the fire, using RAFT (Remote Area Fire Teams).”
The Yarrabin fire has burnt out 12,000 hectares so far and destroyed one property, with authorities unsure of any stock losses at this point.
When the fire raged out of control last week, RFS crews on the Monaro and in the Bega Valley were concerned it could jump into the nearby Wadbilliga National Park, which could have seen it travel down the escarpment into Bemboka and Brogo.
“Crews have kept it in the containment line at Tuross-Kybeyan Rd and last week they were quick to stop any spot fires that jumped the line,” Mr Nichols said.
On Sunday, the Cooma-Monaro RFS held its third town meeting since last Tuesday aimed at keeping residents in Numeralla and Nimmitabel informed.
“We had another very well-attended meeting in Numeralla, it enables everyone to be fully aware of the situation,” Mr Nichols said.
Closer to home, the blaze that threatened properties on Warrigal Range Rd at Brogo last Tuesday has been brought completely under control.
“We are keeping an eye on it and patrolling the area, but there is certainly no cause for alarm,” RFS community safety officer Far South Coast Marty Webster said.
“We are now looking towards rehabilitation works in the area.”
High temperatures last Friday had local crews on alert again, but fortunately there were no reported outbreaks of fire.
An RFS crew from Bemboka was called to attend a fire on Brown Mountain, however it was a campervan that had briefly caught ablaze before the owner put it out with his own fire extinguisher.
“There are high temperatures predicted again in Bega for the end of the week, but conditions are not as dangerous as last Tuesday,” Mr Webster said.
“Still, we remind everyone in the Valley to stay informed and be aware of conditions at all times.”