Live coverage of Mount Canobolas fire: Mop-up crews expected to remain until Sunday

Live coverage of Mount Canobolas fire: Blaze under control, mop up ahead


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The latest information on the fire burning on the slopes of Mount Canobolas ...

What you need to know ...

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An RFS volunteer fells an unsafe tree at the foot of Mount Canobolas. Photo: ANDREW MURRAY

An RFS volunteer fells an unsafe tree at the foot of Mount Canobolas. Photo: ANDREW MURRAY

FRIDAY, 10AM: Crews are expected to remain at Mount Canobolas conducting the final mop-up work until Sunday, when the emergency declaration is expected to be revoked.

More backburning was conducted overnight to reinforce one corner of the containment lines and earthmoving equipment is still on the ground. 

Crews are blacking out the last fires, assessing trees and removing the ones deemed unsafe, while council staff are ensuring the roads are safe so they can be reopened.

The number of aircraft has been reduced to three, while crew numbers now stand at 34 RFS volunteers, 34 National Parks and Wildlife personnel and 14 Forestry Corporation personnel. 

THURSDAY, 1.30PM: The bushfire burning on Mount Canobolas near Orange is now under control.

The fire burnt out 1671 hectares of bushland, however thanks to the great work of firefighters from the NSW Rural Fire Service and other agencies no homes have been lost.

Crews will continue to patrol the fireground over the coming days and mop up and black out any hotspots.

UNDER CONTROL: There has been thousands of hectares burnt out but firefighters have managed to bring the Mount Canobolas fire under control. Photo: ANDREW MURRAY

UNDER CONTROL: There has been thousands of hectares burnt out but firefighters have managed to bring the Mount Canobolas fire under control. Photo: ANDREW MURRAY

RFS CREWS CONFIDENT CONTAINMENT ACHIEVED

THURSDAY, 9AM: The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) is confident they will have the Mount Canobolas fire contained some time on Thursday morning.

Fire conditions have continued to improve across the fire ground with further back burning undertaken overnight in the Mountain Tea House area.

It is expected that the fire should be contained later on Thursday morning, with a strong containment line now established around the fire.

The fire is currently 1671 hectares in size.

There will still be a large number of fire crews and heavy earth moving equipment on the fire ground and the public are asked to stay well away from the area around Mt Canobolas.

CONTAINED: The Mount Canobolas fire on Wednesday. Photo: ANDREW MURRAY

CONTAINED: The Mount Canobolas fire on Wednesday. Photo: ANDREW MURRAY

The following road closures remain in place:

  • Mount Canobolas Road
  • Lake Canobolas Road
  • Old Canobolas Road,
  • Canobolas Road at the Cabonne boundary
  • Pinnacle Road at the Cabonne boundary
  • Mitchell Way
  • Nancarrow Lane
  • All dirt roads leading into Mt Canobolas

There is a Total Fire Ban for the Central Ranges on Thursday, which includes Cabonne, Blayney and Cowra Shires and Orange City Council areas.

With the total fire ban residents are asked not to undertake activities which can cause fires today. This includes slashing grass, welding and grinding in the open.

There will also be Bush Fire Information kiosks at Spring Terrace School from 8.30am until 11.30am and in Post Office Lane from 1.30pm until 4pm.

WHERE IT STANDS: A map of the fire-affected area as of Wednesday afternoon. Photo: RFS/FACEBOOK

WHERE IT STANDS: A map of the fire-affected area as of Wednesday afternoon. Photo: RFS/FACEBOOK

CONTAINMENT EFFORTS THE KEY FOR CREWS

WEDNESDAY, 3PM: Over 150 firefighters continue working to strengthen and consolidate containment lines as fire conditions worsen through Wednesday afternoon.

Crews are being assisted by heavy plant and water-bombing aircraft.

Residents should expect to see increased smoke and fire activity as backburning operations take place.

Road closures remain in place including Mitchells Way, Canobolas Road and the Old Canobolas Road.

STRONG CONTAINMENT LINES ESTABLISHED, SAYS RFS

WEDNESDAY 11.30AM: The RFS has reported establishing strong containment lines overnight, with backburning completed around most of the fire’s perimeter, although there are still live fires.

The total amount burnt out stands at 1666 hectares. 

Strike teams arrived this morning in case conditions worsen this afternoon, but the RFS has urged the public to help brigades by not engaging in any activity capable of causing a fire.

While there was moist air in Orange overnight, it was significantly drier on the summit.

One fire started to the southeast, however it remains unclear whether it was a spot fire from the main fire or due to another cause.

ON THE SCENE: The fire on Mount Canobolas on Wednesday morning.

ON THE SCENE: The fire on Mount Canobolas on Wednesday morning.

BACKBURNING TO BEAT WEDNESDAY’S WEATHER

TUESDAY 6PM: Backburning on Mount Canobolas will resume on Tuesday night, however the NSW Rural Fire Service remains unsure whether their two-day containment operations would curtail Wednesday’s forecast heat and winds.

The blaze, categorised as ‘being controlled’ since Tuesday morning, has burnt out more than 1333 hectares of land near the mountain, but there remains no threats to homes.

NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) Canobolas zone manager Superintendent David Hoadley said aerial incendiary work might occur on Tuesday night to “finish off” the centre of the fire.

“That’s a specialist skill we’ve gotten in recent times,” he said.

VIDEO: Footage of the burnt-out areas on the mountain …

PLEA FOR PEOPLE TO BE VIGILANT FROM RFS

TUESDAY, 11AM: The Canobolas Zone NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) has asked for residents to be vigilant about avoiding activities which can spark fires ahead of the forecast worsening weather conditions on Wednesday.

The Mount Canobolas fire has now burnt out 1149 hectares, and although it is categorised as “being Controlled”, firefighters are asking for a concerted effort from the region’s residents to avoid another outbreak in the coming days.

“The general public has been asked to be careful and avoid [undertaking] activities which may create fires over the next 48 hours,” an RFS statement said.

WORKING HARD: The DC-10 Air Tanker drops another load of fire retardant on the Mount Canobolas blaze. Photo: SCOTT GILBANK

WORKING HARD: The DC-10 Air Tanker drops another load of fire retardant on the Mount Canobolas blaze. Photo: SCOTT GILBANK

“Please consider delaying activities such as grinding, welding and other such activities in the open which may create sparks and the potential for a fire.”

According to weatherzone.com.au, Orange’s predicted top temperature on Wednesday will be 31 degrees, with winds gusting at almost 30km/h.

“This week we will see strong south westerly to westerly winds develop and coupled with the heat we’ve already experienced, the landscape is very susceptible to fire,” NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.

GROWING: The area of the Mount Canobolas fire at around 12pm on Tuesday. Photo: FACEBOOK

GROWING: The area of the Mount Canobolas fire at around 12pm on Tuesday. Photo: FACEBOOK

“That’s why it’s so important that landholders, homeowners, businesses and travellers seriously consider how they could be impacted and start planning now.

“Use today and tonight to have a discussion about what you will do if a fire starts near you, so everyone in your household knows your bush fire survival plan.

“With many parents back at work and kids at school, people need to consider what to do if fire threatens when the family is separated.”

'BEING CONTROLLED': Firefighting crews conducted backburning operations on Monday night and into Tuesday. Photo: NSW RFS/FACEBOOK

'BEING CONTROLLED': Firefighting crews conducted backburning operations on Monday night and into Tuesday. Photo: NSW RFS/FACEBOOK

OVERNIGHT BACKBURNING OPERATIONS SUCCESSFUL

TUESDAY, 7AM: CREWS from the Canobolas Zone NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) and other brigades from further afield have spent Monday night carrying out backburning operations to contain the Mount Canobolas fire.

According to NSW RFS, firefighters undertook backburning overnight in the south-east section of the fire with good success.

Fire activity in the south-west corner is starting to increase however there remain no threats to homes. Backburning in this area will commence on Tuesday morning.

Increased activity is also occurring on the western containment line due to a number of hot spots.

Whilst backburning is occurring, residents will see an increase in smoke and fire activity. This work is being done ahead of forecast severe fire danger on Wednesday.

The blaze has now burnt out 1014 hectares of National Parks, state forests and private land.

The fire’s status has been downgraded to ‘Being Controlled’ and its alert level remains stable at the ‘Advice’ category.

There will be two bushfire information Kiosks operating on Tuesday to inform the community of the latest information on the fire.

The first information kiosk will be at the Nashdale Hall from 10.30am until 1.30pm.

The second information kiosk will be in the car park of the Woolworths North Orange Shopping Centre from 2.30pm until 5.30pm.

Representatives from the NSW RFS will be available to take questions and provide the latest information on the fire and fire fighting activities.

NIGHT BACKBURNING OPERATIONS PLANNED

MONDAY, 4.30PM: The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) will spend Monday night on backburning efforts in an attempt to control the bushfire at Mount Canobolas as more hot, dry weather approaches.

For the second day in a row, the fire was quieter in the morning, however Canobolas zone manager Superintendent David Hoadley said higher temperatures, lower humidity and stronger winds led to more smoke and even visible flames later in the afternoon. 

However, Supt Hoadley told the public not to be alarmed because the fire had not breached containment lines.

“Some residents from Panuara noticed the flames and were concerned it had jumped out of its box but it hasn’t,” he said. 

A large backburning operation is planned overnight to stop the fire spreading to the south.

“We don’t want it to impact on the Cadia mine,” Supt Hoadley said.

The fire has now burnt out 877 hectares of land and remains on ‘Advice’ status.

VIDEO: The heavy plant machinery hard at work on Monday …

CREWS RUSH TO BUILD CONTAINMENT LINES

MONDAY, 12PM: NSW Rural Fire Service crews are toiling hard to build containment lines around the Mount Canobolas fire with conditions expected to worsen on Monday afternoon.

Heavy plant machinery continues to assist firefighters in constructing and consolidating the containment lines which were established in the last 24 hours.

Around 16 heavy plant machines comprised of bulldozers and graders will work to strengthen these lines before a predicted weather change this afternoon.

According to the forecast at www.weatherzone.com.au winds around Orange will pick up to in excess of 20km/h on Monday afternoon, with the temperature expected to hit 29 degrees Celsius.

The forecasts for Tuesday (top of 30 degrees) and Wednesday (31) are also a cause for concern should the blaze not be controlled by then.

The fire – which is still categorised as ‘Advice’ alert level – has now burnt approximately 875 hectares.

STILL BURNING: Residents awoke on Monday morning to some good news about the Mount Canobolas fire. Photo: JOHN KICH

STILL BURNING: Residents awoke on Monday morning to some good news about the Mount Canobolas fire. Photo: JOHN KICH

INFORMATION KIOSKS FOR AFFECTED RESIDENTS

MONDAY 8.45AM: The RFS is holding two information kiosks on Monday to update residents on the status of the fire and firefighting efforts.

They will be held at Nashdale Hall on the corner of Cargo and Nancarrow roads from 11.30am-1.30pm and the parkland next to Emus Rugby Union Club on Woodward Street from 2.30pm-4.30pm.

For those in danger or affected by the fire, Alarmed Self Storage is offering free storage including parking space for vehicles, trailers, tractors, boats and caravans.

BIG AREA: The 793 hectares burnt out by the Mount Canobolas fire, as of Monday morning. Image: NSW Rural Fire Service

BIG AREA: The 793 hectares burnt out by the Mount Canobolas fire, as of Monday morning. Image: NSW Rural Fire Service

YOUR MORNING UPDATE ON THE LATEST NEWS

MONDAY, 7AM: The fire burning near Mount Canobolas has now burnt out almost 800 hectares of land.

According to the latest information at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au the blaze had spread over 793 hectares of National Parks, state forests and private land.

Overnight the fire – which still has ‘Out of Control’ status’ – was downgraded to an ‘Advice’ alert level, having previously be categorised as ‘Watch and See’ and the more serious ‘Emergency’ on Sunday afternoon.

At this stage it is believed there have been no residences destroyed, although some sheds and other farm building have been impacted over the course of the fire.

NSW RFS crews from Canobolas Zone NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) and beyond worked through the night to contain the fire, making the most of the benign conditions to undertake a direct attack on the blaze.

Changeover crews are at Orange Regional Airport this morning being briefed ahead of the day’s efforts.

Line scans will be undertaken by aircraft to measure the fire on Monday morning and the information will be passed to NSW RFS for processing.

Heavy plant machinery will work with firefighters to construct containment lines, with work having already commenced on the southern containment lines.

VIDEO: Drone footage of the Mount Canobolas fire ...

The focus for firefighters will be the north and eastern parts of the fire as conditions deteriorate later on Monday.

Road closures remain in place including Mitchells Way, Canobolas Road, Nancarrow Lane and the Old Canobolas Road.

Canobolas Public School and Nashdale Public School will both be closed on Monday.

FEMALE FIREFIGHTER INJURED AT FIRE NEAR GOWAN

SUNDAY, 9.30PM: There are no reports that a firefighter was injured at the Mount Canobolas fire, however a female firefighter has been airlifted to Orange hospital after being injured at the Belerada fire at Gowan, north-east of Orange.

In other news, Deputy incident controller Steve Woodhall said winds have calmed down at Mount Canobolas to the benefit of firefighters and people living, or with property in the area. 

“Crews on the ground are doing property protection tonight,” he said.

There is also heavy plant machinery being used in the state forest and conservation area on the western side of the mountain in an effort to contain the fire.

VIDEO: The firefighting effort in full flight ...

According to the latest information from the Fires Near Me site, residents on and to the West of Pinnancle Road and along Lake Canobolas Road are reminded that they should only remain if people and property is well prepared, if not leave towards Orange if the path is clear.

Residents in the vicinity of Boree Lane, Lidster and Borenore Road should also continue to monitor the situation and know what they will do in the event the fire threatens.

Local road closures remain in place including at Mitchells Way, Canobolas Road and the Old Canobolas Road.

TOTAL FIRE BAN IN PLACE FOR MONDAY

SUNDAY, 9PM: The Canobolas Zone has a total fire ban in place for Monday. 

The fire ban will cover the Local Government Areas of Cabonne, Orange, Blayney and Cowra,

ALERT DOWNGRADED TO WATCH AND ACT

SUNDAY, 8.15PM: The fire at Mount Canobolas has been given an alert level of watch and act, on Sunday evening. 

The threat to properties in the area has eased however more than 100 firefighters continue to work across the fireground.

Crews are building containment lines and the fire was most recently heading in an easterly direction.

SMOKE RISING: Smoke from the fire at Mount Canobolas. Photo: ANDREW MURRAY

SMOKE RISING: Smoke from the fire at Mount Canobolas. Photo: ANDREW MURRAY

EVACUATION CONTROL POINT TO REOPEN AT 7.30AM

SUNDAY, 7.45PM: The evacuation point and advice centre in the ELF at Orange Showground will reopen Monday at 7.30am. 

During Sunday afternoon staff met several residents who came in wishing to donate and offer their support.

However, at this stage no one has come in requesting help.

BLAZE MIGHT WORSEN, SAYS RFS

SUNDAY, 6PM: The deputy commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service has warned the Mount Canobolas bushfire might worsen in the coming days.

Speaking to ABC News, the RFS’s Rob Rogers said the weather and wind forecasts for Sunday night and the next few days were a cause for concern.

“It looks like it will be a difficult night and a difficult day (Monday),” Mr Rogers said.

“The fire is quite close to built-up areas and to Orange itself.”

Mr Rogers said the “extraordinary” fire had started in a pine plantation and the efforts of RFS crews had taken a toll.

“There have been some injuries to firefighters”, he said, adding there were people on the ground determining how severe those injuries were.

HOT AT THE TOP: The fire approaching the peak of Mount Canobolas. Photo: MARK GRAY/FACEBOOK

HOT AT THE TOP: The fire approaching the peak of Mount Canobolas. Photo: MARK GRAY/FACEBOOK

SHOWGROUND FACILITY USED AS EVACUATION POINT

SUNDAY, 4.20PM: THE evacuation site for residents has been changed since the fire on Mount Canobolas has been upgraded to emergency status.

Residents evacuating their properties were previously being assembled at Nashdale Hall, but are now being asked to move to the new evacuation site at Orange Showgrounds.

Officials at the showground’s Environmental Learning Facility (ELF) are coordinating the movement of the evacuees into motels across Orange or encouraging them to stay with family and friends if at all possible.

The ELF’s doors have been opened to accommodate both people and animals, including domestic and farm pets like lambs.

OFFICIALS UPGRADE FIRE TO EMERGENCY STATUS

SUNDAY, 4PM: The warning for the Mount Canobolas fire has been upgraded to emergency status.

According to the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) “fire activity has increased over the past few hours and the fire is moving in an easterly direction along Mount Canobolas Road”.

The RFS is advising residents on and to the west of Pinnancle Road and along Lake Canobolas Road to only remain if they and their property are well prepared.

MEET HERE: The Family and Community Services disaster relief unit's Dennis Shrimpton at the new evacuation point of the Environmental Learning Facility at Orange Showgrounds. Photo: ANDREW MURRAY

MEET HERE: The Family and Community Services disaster relief unit's Dennis Shrimpton at the new evacuation point of the Environmental Learning Facility at Orange Showgrounds. Photo: ANDREW MURRAY

If that is not the case they being told to leave towards Orange, but only if the path is clear.

Residents in the vicinity of Boree Lane, Lidster and Borenore Road should also continue to monitor the situation and know what they will do in the event the fire threatens.

Road closures are in place including Mitchells Way, Canobolas Road and the Old Canobolas Road.

VIDEO: An aerial view of the fire approaching the mountain’s summit ...

CREWS HELPING THOSE WILLING TO EVACUATE HOMES

SUNDAY, 3.20PM: NSW Rural Fire Service crews are evacuating residents from their homes on Lake Canobolas Road into Orange.

NSW RFS media liaison Bruce Reynolds said crew members are assisting people in the area who are willing to leave their homes in the event the bushfire burning on Mount Canobolas approaches.

It is not an enforced evacuation: Those residents who have prepared their homes for the fire and are willing to defend them are allowed to remain on their properties.

RFS INUNDATED BY GENEROUS DONATIONS BY CITIZENS

SUNDAY, 2.55PM: THE Canobolas Zone NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) has been inundated with donations to help their crews fighting the blaze on Mount Canobolas.

In a post to their Facebook page, the brigade thanked those who had delivered items to Nashdale Hall – which is acting as an evacuation point – since their call for assistance on Sunday morning.

“Thank you again for the huge support to our volunteers, it is greatly appreciated,” the post read, explaining they will not be taking any further donations.

Catering teams are now in place for both the Mount Canobolas fire and Belerada Creek fire.

Authorities have also closed Nancarrow Lane and asked motorists to continue obeying instructions from RFS crew members.

SIZE OF LAND CONFIRMED DESTROYED BY FIRE GROWS

SUNDAY, 2.10PM: The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) has said the bushfire burning on Mount Canobolas has now burnt out 347 hectares of land.

Crews are being aided by five bulldozers and two graders on loan from Cabonne Council to build containment lines.

They are in addition to the DC-10 Air Tanker which has made three water-dropping runs over the site and is filling up at Richmond.

Additional support is coming from a team of helicopters, which are re-stocking their water supplies at nearby dams.

GIANT HELP: The DC-10 Air Tanker being deployed to drop another mass of water on the fire.

GIANT HELP: The DC-10 Air Tanker being deployed to drop another mass of water on the fire.

Crews are focusing their efforts on protecting the telecommunications infrastructure at the mountain’s summit, with the fire approaching the peak from the north.

The RFS has deployed people on the ground to advise and consult with nearby landowners, although there have been no forced evacuations at this point.

VIDEO: The burnt-out area on Sunday morning ...

WATCH AND ACT ORDER REMAINS IN PLACE FOR RESIDENTS

SUNDAY, 1.30PM: A ‘watch and act’ order remains in place for residents near the scene of the blaze burning on Mount Canobolas.

According to Canobolas Zone NSW Rural Fire Service the fire has destroyed 298 hectares of land, although this figure has not been updated since this morning.

The affected areas include National Parks, state forests and private land.

According to a post on the NSW RFS Facebook page crews are continuing to work on containment lines.

ON HIGH ALERT: NSW Rural Fire Service crews on Sunday.

ON HIGH ALERT: NSW Rural Fire Service crews on Sunday.

“The Very Large Air Tanker (VLAT) Nancy Bird (DC-10) is working to construct containment lines around vital communications infrastructure on Mount Canobolas”, the post read.

It concluded that “there are no immediate threats however residents need to be vigilant and continue to monitor the situation”.

WARM AND WINDY WEATHER TIPPED FOR SUNDAY AFTERNOON

SUNDAY, 1PM: The firefighting crews battling the blaze on Mount Canobolas will have to counter less than  ideal conditions, according to the latest forecasts.

According to weatherzone.com.au the temperature is expected to reach 30 degrees on Sunday afternoon, with wind gusting at up to 31km/h.

The winds are blowing out of the west-south-west.

WHAT'S AHEAD: Orange's four-day forecast as published at www.weatherzone.com.au.

WHAT'S AHEAD: Orange's four-day forecast as published at www.weatherzone.com.au.

If the forecast is to believed the coming days will see similar conditions, with Monday (29), Tuesday (30) and Wednesday (31) all set to see hot temperatures.

AUTHORITIES ANNOUNCE FURTHER ROAD CLOSURES

SUNDAY, 12.30PM: The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) has announced further road closures near the scene of the fire burning on Mount Canobolas.

There is no access to Lake Canobolas Road via Cargo Road.

The intersection of Pinnacle Road and Racecourse Road near the border of Orange and Cabonne shires is also closed.

Motorists can not access Canobolas Road from Racecourse Road or Ploughmans Lane.​

The story Live coverage of Mount Canobolas fire: Mop-up crews expected to remain until Sunday first appeared on Central Western Daily.

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