An amazing firefighting effort from Rural Fire Service brigades from as far away as Narrabri held back a massive bushfire that threatened the Tingha township near Inverell on Tuesday.
With hot winds gusting up to 40km/h, the fire, started by a dry lightning strike according to RFS, quickly built up into a large fire front and moved east rapidly towards Tingha, jumping Thunderbolt’s Way.
It is believed at least one house has been lost and numerous sheds and outbuildings in the fire, that is still burning and dangerous.
An emergency warning was issued mid-afternoon on Tuesday for Tingha’s 2000 people, who were told to enact their fire plans. A safe haven was established at the Tingha primary school in Ruby Street.
Firefighters were able to back burn near the Old MiIl area and briefly hold the easterly march of the fire on Tuesday night. The fire took out major powerlines and many people in Tingha and Bundarra were without power yesterday (Wednesday). The fire was still at watch and act level with embers breaking over the backburning lines, with again hot winds and low humidity (of about 11 per cent) creating severe fire conditions on Wednesday.
Angela Daly of the Northern Tablelands RFS said it was an amazing effort by crews to hold back the fire, which travelled to within 3km of Tingha.
“Thankfully at this stage there have been no injuries. The crews came from all over the north to fight the fire from throughout the Inverell shire, from Narrabri to Armidale.”
This morning the fire was buring towarsd Howell road. The RFS issued this advice at 10am: “WATCH & ACT: Tingha Plateau (Inverell LGA)- Increase in fire activity on the S side of the fire as it burns toward Howell Rd. If you are in the Howell Rd area, and your plan is to leave, leave now toward Bundarra.”
Meantime an out-of-control blaze at Tabulam, west of Casino, has already burnt through nearly 4000 hectares. Police confirmed five homes were razed by a separate blaze near Tabulam, which is still threatening properties. About 6000 hectares of bush has been lost near Tingha and around the community of Old Mill.
NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said crews have been doing a lot of back-burning. Both blazes were uncontained. He said it would be tough for crews in the two firegrounds. The RFS said there were 44 other fires in the state.