AN out-of-control bushfire in the Pilliga National Park has kept NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) crews busy over the weekend.
Crews from as far away as Kempsey, Lismore and Coffs Harbour have joined local firefighters in battling the blaze, which has so far burnt more than 54,000 hectares.
Along with heavy plant equipment, such as bulldozers and graders, 15 fire-fighting aircraft have also been used to help contain the fire.
NSW RFS public liaison officer Angela Daly said firefighters are facing “another challenging day”.
“Firefighters are now working on containing the fire in a 120 kilometre perimeter,” Ms Daly said.
“Crews had a successful night last night with heavy plant equipment which should help a lot in keeping the fire within the containment lines.”
Ms Daly said at this stage no homes are in immediate danger from the fire, but urged local residents to stay updated about the fire’s status.
“There are some remote properties on the southern side and western side of the fire,” she said.
“At the moment there isn’t too great a risk to those homes but that is dependent of wind changes so we urge residents of the whole area to stay up to date with the latest information on the fires near me and RFS websites.”
The RFS officer said Monday’s weather will be “a little kinder” to firefighters.
“Conditions are still severe with an expected top temperature of 40 degrees,” she said.
“However the conditions will not be as dangerous or as severe as the weekend with lighter winds expected.”
Ms Daly said smoke from the fire will continue to be visible throughout the area.
“Locals in Barradine and Coonabarrabran can expect at times throughout the day to clearly see and smell smoke,” she said.
“We are working with Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) to reopen the Newell Highway between Narrabri and Coonabarrabran as soon as possible, but with smoke still visible in the area we are unsure at this stage when the road will reopen.”
RFS crews also attended two separate grass fires in Quirindi on Saturday.
The two fires on Pine Ridge Road and Ray Carter Drive were quickly brought under control by a local RFS crew’s and collectively only burnt 15 hectares of grass land.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology are expecting the hot weather to continue, with temperatures set to reach 40 degrees over the next three days.