Snowy Valleys burns

An aerial view of the Batlow townships at 5.50pm this afternoon.

The Snowy Valleys region is in the grip of an unprecedented fire event.

The Dunns Road fire has impacted Batlow this afternoon, while residents are also hunkered down in Adelong and Talbingo, with those towns under threat, as fire-fighters focus on life and property protection on a horror day for the region.

Crews are actively engaged in property protection at Batlow, while Talbingo is facing an ember attack.

After a relatively quiet morning, the extreme fire weather arrived early in the afternoon as the blaze went on multiple runs to the east and south, fanned by north-westerly winds, which have continued into the evening.

It came out of the Ellerslie area, crossing the Snowy Mountains Highway north-west of Adelong, where it crossed into Bangadang and the Mt Adrah area. Adelong may be impacted with fire in the north along Snowy Mountains Highway.  The fire has also extended towards Wondalga.

The Gilmore valley has been impacted.

Things are just as dire to the south.

Crews were forced to fall back to strategic positions.

 “Our focus today is life and property,” public liaison officer Brad Stewart said. “We are not actively fighting the fire, any attempts to do so would be ineffective.”

Fellow public liaison officer Peter Jones offered similar comments when he talked with Sounds of the Mountains this afternoon.

“It’s impossible to put a fire out of this size, with the resources we have,” he said.

At Tumut, a previous fire at the town common has flared up a couple of times, and the town was without power for a period this afternoon.

But there’s no evacuation order in place for Tumut. Many have left anyway.

The NSW Rural Fire service noted that the Dunns Road and Green Valley fires were merging just after 6pm.

Fire is still at emergency warning and is active in a number of locations, the RFS stated, including Snowy Mountains Hwy west of Adelong, Mines Road and Kunama Rd Batlow, Gilmore Valley and west of Talbingo, Maragle and Tooma areas

The RFS has advised people to remain vigilant and shelter in place as the fire approaches.

There have been reports of property loss in a number of areas.

RFS Air Tractor AT-802 bombers and helicopters attempting to leave the Tumut Airport have been periodically grounded due to the large gusts of winds and smokey conditions, but have still played a big role in assisting ground crews.

RFS volunteer and Tumut air base manager Wayne Harrison said there was no choice.

“It’s was just too dangerous,” Mr Harrison said. 

The fire has burned 149,000 hecatares.

Snowy Valleys mayor, James Hayes, who lives near Adelong, was tonight himself preparing for his property being impacted.

“It’s just the worst fire I’ve ever seen, there’s not much more I can say,” Mr Hayes said. “It broke out in the north and has marched along.

“Everything is just so dry.”

A change is expected to come through at some stage tonight, with easing conditions tomorrow.