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Northern Tablelands fires: defence force transports interstate firefighters to Armidale to help fight fires near Glen Innes and Torrington

ALTHOUGH much of the Northern Tablelands has been devastated by fires, exhausted crews are still keeping up the determined fight to get on top of the blazes.

Interstate firefighters are backing up local crews on the firegrounds in and around Glen Innes, Armidale and Torrington, with the Army transporting the extra manpower to Armidale earlier this week.

The defence force confirmed a Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules transported firefighters and their equipment from Essendon and Mildura to Armidale on Tuesday.

Hundreds of firefighters are continuing the firefight against more than 200 blazes burning across the landscape since September, the Northern Tablelands RFS said.

On Wednesday, crews continued to gain the upper hand, after backburning efforts during the day on the Gulf Road Fire at Torrington.

Crews were focused on strengthening containment lines on the western side of the fire, east of the Bruxner Highway. It was close to 65,000 hectares in size.

The Kangawalla fire was also being controlled on Thursday night after burning through close to 21,000 hectares.

On Thursday, crews from the Country Fire Authority, National Parks and Wildlife, and local RFS were carrying out a backburn on the south end of the fire to consolidate containment lines.

The Whans Road fire at Llangothlin, near Armidale, was more than 1500 hectares and under control on Thursday night.

The Wandsworth fire, between Guyra and Tingha, was almost 10,500 hectares and being controlled.

A total fire ban is in place for Friday in the Northern Slopes and New England areas, with a very high fire danger forecast.

The RFS has confirmed more than 300 homes have been destroyed or damaged since Friday, at least 50 of them on Tuesday alone.

Four people have now died in the devastating bushfires that ripped through Wytaliba last weekend, and the Mid North Coast.

Wytaliba locals Vivian Chaplain, 69, and George Nole died, while Julie Fletcher died at Johns River. Bruce Parsons was named on Thursday as the fourth victim of the deadly fires, after his body was discovered on Wednesday night.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian during Question Time in parliament extended her condolences to the family and friends of Mr Parsons and the three other fire victims.

"I want to, on behalf of all colleagues in this place, extend our deepest condolences to all their loved ones and appreciate what a difficult time it is for them, as it is for the communities - because when you come from a small community ... it sends quite huge shockwaves throughout townships," she said.

- with AAP

This story Defence force drops off interstate crews as firefight continues first appeared on The Armidale Express.

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