Bega RFS strike teams safely home

CREWS from the Far South Coast Rural Fire Service have returned home after supporting firefighting efforts in the Tumut and Wagga Wagga areas.

The first strike team sent to Wagga Wagga, called South 37, returned to the Valley on Thursday with the second team, South 43, returning home on Saturday.

The Eurobodalla strike team also returned home on Saturday.

Far South Coast RFS district officer Garry Cooper said the Tumut fire had stopped “running”, but crews still at the scene were continuing to contain the edges and mop up, with one eye also on the high temperatures forecast over the next few days.

Mr Cooper was involved with the incident management team, monitoring and planning strategies to fight the Tumut fire.

He said the second Bega strike team assisting with efforts at Wagga was able to leave the area earlier than expected as rain on Friday gave firefighters the upper hand and provided crews with some much-needed rest.

Meanwhile, a fire currently burning in steep, remote country in Wadbilliga National Park is being closely monitored by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).  

The fire is about 60 to 70 hectares in size, bounded to the west by the Tuross River and in the wilderness area to the east.

Mr Cooper said local RFS volunteers are not involved with the firefighting efforts at this stage as it is too dangerous and remote for ground crews.

Controller for the NPWS Far South Coast district Stephen Dovey said the NPWS is working to establish containment in this very remote country using five helicopters and three bulldozers.

“We are talking to Cooma-Monaro RFS if it does travel to the west, but we are working hard on that boundary so it won’t travel westward.

“We are reviewing the situation on a daily basis and also considering fall back options to protect life and property if required.

“We are also monitoring the weather closely, but it is not having an impact on the fire at the moment,” Mr Dovey said.

The fire was apparently caused by lightning strike.

RFS Far South Coast team manager Superintendent John Cullen said residents need to stay focused on the fire season and remain vigilant.

“It is only the middle of summer and the fire season runs until the end of March.

“These lightning strikes are an example of what can happen and it is important that people are prepared for such situations.”

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