Rain drenches blazes

THE rain has edged fire crews closer to victory in their battle against the Dunns Road and Rolling Grounds fires.

The Dunns Road fire was reduced to patrol status yesterday afternoon and crews are keeping an eye on the Rolling Grounds fire –– the NSW portion of the Orroral fire – and Remote Area Firefighting Teams (RAFT) and helicopters are keeping it suppressed.

Riverina Highlands RFS Primary Deputy Incident Controller Jon Gregory said the rain on the weekend and the early hours of Monday certainly put the fire down, but it’s not all over yet.

“There are quite a few hotspots we want to get to before the weather heats up again,” he said, with maximum temperatures in the Tumut region to reach the 30s for most of the next week.

Infrared cameras will be used to find hotspots in the Horseshoe Fire Trail and Broken Cart Fire Trail areas, and firefighters, mainly RAFT, will then attend to them.

Many local firefighters and those from outside of the area are having a well-earned and very valuable rest.

“There’s still a bit of summer to go yet,” Mr Gregory said.

He said firefighters from New Zealand and Tasmania were undertaking walk-in-walk-out firefighting work, and the work of the RAFT crews would be the strategy for the next few days while the weather is much milder. There are also two helicopters in use, and it is intended that they will have as much impact as they can while the weather is cooler.

There were, however, some anxious times for the Riverina Highlands RFS over the weekend.

“We were a bit concerned over the weekend because of the strong easterly winds, which caused small pockets of active fire,” Mr Gregory said.

However, these were found and put out, and after the rain, the threat against homes and property in the Snowy Valleys is greatly reduced.

“There is a fairly high level of confidence among fire crews that we are well and truly over the worst of it,” Mr Gregory said.