Community meetings for Drake and the border as fires burn on

A pall of smoke continues to cling to the district as firefighters enter their second week of battling blazes on multiple fronts, and those whose properties were razed count the cost.

This was the view from Tracey Morton's Geyers Road verandah on Sunday night, looking north to the area bounded by Ram Swamp and Gosling Swamp Creeks.

This was the view from Tracey Morton's Geyers Road verandah on Sunday night, looking north to the area bounded by Ram Swamp and Gosling Swamp Creeks.

More than 50,000 hectares have burnt out in two major fires, originating last Tuesday in Jennings and Tabulam, with smaller fires at Bookookoorara and Tooloom putting further strain on resources.

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While the smaller fires are under control, Rural Fire Service crews from across the state are joining local teams and Forestry Corp and National Park and Wildlife Service firefighters working around the clock on containment lines for the other blazes classed as ‘being controlled’.

In the Tabulam area firefighters are continuing to concentrate their efforts on the south-western side of the fireground around Lesley Creek Rd. The RFS said the fire continues to move towards the road and firefighters are in position to protect property when required.

On the northern side of the fireground there has also been active fire around Sugar Bag Road and Bruxner Rd. Firefighters remain in position to protect homes when required.

Not much feed left: MP Thomas George and Nationals candidate Austin Curtin spent time in Tabulam seeing the devastation first-hand.

Not much feed left: MP Thomas George and Nationals candidate Austin Curtin spent time in Tabulam seeing the devastation first-hand.

SES volunteers have been doorknocking in Jennings and other areas to warn residents of increased smoke as firefighters undertake backburning operations nearby. On Tuesday heavy plant and water bombing aircraft continued to work on establishing and strengthen containment lines around the fires.

Weather conditions over the next few days are predicted to remain hot and dry, although not as windy as last week. A chance of light rain and storm activity later in the week may help ease the situation.

A 40-year-old woman will face Casino Local Court on February 27 charged with starting the Tabulam fire after she lit a fire in a drum to burn household rubbish during the total fire ban, and then left it unattended. The cause of the Jennings fire is as yet unknown.

Fires in the Jennings area are generating widespread smoke. Photo: NSW RFS.

Fires in the Jennings area are generating widespread smoke. Photo: NSW RFS.

Tenterfield Shire Council is hosting a community meeting at Drake Hotel on Thursday, February 21 from 5pm, and another in the Wallangarra School of Arts on Friday night from 7pm (DST). Representatives from the RFS, Local Land Services, Dept of Family and Children Services, the NSW Recovery Team and more will be in attendance.

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