04 October 2007

Fires still burning in NSW

The start to the NSW fire season remains ominous. Maximum temperatures in Sydney were 13 degrees above normal today. Fire danger conditions across much of reached extreme much of the state. No new major fires were started, but several pre-existing one flared up. By the afternoon, homes were under threat in the Oyster Cove/Salt Ash fires.

This image was captured by the MODIS instrument aboard the Aqua satellite at 3 Oct 2007 0340 UTC (1340 AEST). It is extracted from the larger 'browse image' available at the NASA MODIS Rapid Response Real Time Data website. This is a true color image with 250 m pixel resolution. The area north of Newcastle, NSW is shown. The red squares indicate the location of hotspots -- the bushfire – detected by satellite. The Salt Ash fires are at the south end of the squares. The Oyster cove region is at the north end. A large, thick plume of smoke is seen moving out to sea.

As of this evening, these fires have been contained and are no longer posing a threat to houses.

Cooler conditions are gradually moving up the New South Wales coast, helping firefighters contain a number of bushfires around the state.

Around Port Stephens, north of Newcastle, crews have managed to contain bushfires at Salt Ash, Oyster Cove and Swan Bay that had earlier threatened homes.

Its not really clear what is going on right now. The 5pm report on the fire from the Rural Fire Service says

More than 100 fire fighters are working on fires burning in the Tilligerry Peninsula area and any new fire outbreaks in the Port Stephens area. The fires have burnt out about 860 hectares of National Parkland, private property and Hunter Water Catchment land. One home was destroyed by fire in Salt Ash on Monday afternoon.

Around eight aircraft are currently supporting ground operations.

Strike teams will be deployed to provide property protection as required. These crews will be supported by water bombing aircraft. Other crews will continue to work to minimise spot fire activity and protect property with the onset of the predicted strong westerly winds.

Fire has broken containment lines south of Medowie, near the RAAF bombing range, and RAAF crews are working on scene.

The Oyster Cove fire has also broken containment lines to the south of the township. A temporary road closure is now in place on Lemon Tree Passage Road between Oyster Cove and Nelson Bay Roads. Local traffic is still being allowed through at this stage. Further road closures in the area may occur without warning.

Fire danger is not expected to be as high tomorrow (4 October), with no extreme fire weather expected.

Another major bushfires in NSW are reported at Evans Head in the far north, where more than 1400 hectares of national park and private property have been burnt. No imagery of these fires available due to cloud cover over the region.

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