Bemboka bushfire ‘proactive approach’ ramps up as conditions ease

HOT AND DRY: Sheep and their new lambs are hand fed on incredibly dry property at Kameruka as the Yankees Gap fire burns in the distance. Picture: Toni Ward
HOT AND DRY: Sheep and their new lambs are hand fed on incredibly dry property at Kameruka as the Yankees Gap fire burns in the distance. Picture: Toni Ward

Firefighters on the ground and in the air are making the best of recent calmer conditions to attack the Yankees Gap bushfire on several fronts.

The “campaign fire” will be around for some time to come according to RFS Far South Coast superintendent John Cullen, but remains in the “being controlled” alert status as cooperating agencies develop perimeter control lines and conduct backburning.

“The last two days the weather has quietened down considerably, which has made it more favourable for our proactive approach,” Mr Cullen said on Thursday.

Screen grab from the RFS Fires Near Me app of the area of country burnt so far (Thursday morning) from the Yankees Gap fire.

Screen grab from the RFS Fires Near Me app of the area of country burnt so far (Thursday morning) from the Yankees Gap fire.

Particular focus is being directed on the eastern front close to Brogo as well as the western side in the Polacks Flat, Walls Flat area.

On Wednesday, Mr Cullen said 80 people were in the field, with 40 remaining on task overnight. He said it has been a great collaboration between RFS crews from Bega Valley, Eurobodalla and Cooma-Monaro, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Forestry, Fire and Rescue NSW and other agencies throughout the fire, which began more than a week ago.

As of Thursday morning, the fire that became out of control on August 15 has burnt around 7500ha of mostly national park, as well as destroying three homes and several outbuildings on properties at Numbugga.

A public meeting held at Bemboka on Wednesday evening was “timely” with smoke causing some concern among residents Mr Cullen said.

RFS Far South Coast superintendent John Cullen addresses a town meeting at Bemboka. Picture: Helmut Eder

RFS Far South Coast superintendent John Cullen addresses a town meeting at Bemboka. Picture: Helmut Eder

The RFS and assisting agencies are taking the opportunity of increased humidity and lower temperatures in recent days to ramp up backburning operations.

“There was a good feeling at the meeting where we could inform the community about what has happened and what we’re intending to do,” Mr Cullen said.

“The meeting was timely though with people seeing a lot of smoke still and active fires in unburnt country – but a lot of that was due to proactive firefighting rather than the burn itself.”

Mr Cullen said helicopter incendiaries were lighting up the ridges in order to burn down towards containment lines set up by ground crews.

“It’s pretty tricky country to work in, but it’s all the unburnt fuel we’re looking to take out ahead of the fire fronts.

“It was good to talk to the people [at the two town meetings].

“There are very strong community links at Brogo, they all understand the risks about living where they do and it’s about staying informed.”

A town meeting at Bemboka on Wednesday hears updates on the Yankees Gap fire. Picture: Helmut Eder

A town meeting at Bemboka on Wednesday hears updates on the Yankees Gap fire. Picture: Helmut Eder

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