Residents airlifted to safety as bushfire destroys homes
THREE homes have been destroyed and some residents airlifted to safety during a devastating bushfire at Kremnos, 35km south of Grafton on the Orara Way.
NSW Rural Fire Service crews reported yesterday that three homes had been extensively damaged and a number of outbuildings and vehicles were also destroyed in the McGill's Rd fire.
A low-moderate fire danger rating remains in place for North East NSW, covering the North and Mid-North coasts, New England and the Northern Slopes.
Despite the reduced fire danger, as of 5.30am today, more than 40 fires continue to burn between Coffs Harbour and Tweed Heads, including one burning out of control at South Grafton.
All the remaining fires bar two - Red Ridge Road at Dirty Creek and Pikapene Road at Pikapene - are either under control or being brought under control.
Three Kremnos residents had to be airlifted to safety by helicopter as the fire burned on Saturday at about 4.30pm.
Clarence Valley District RFS deputy controller inspector Brett Loughlin said the residents had been spotted from the air during the height of the fire storm.
"(Their) exit from the fire had been cut off," he said.
"They (RFS helicopter crew) determined that the fire approaching these people was going to be quite significant and determined that there was enough time to quickly land in a safe area to retrieve those three people and airlift them to safety.
"It just goes to show the dedication and the skill of our pilots and air observers, that they are able to quickly make these rapid assessments and get in and get the job done."
Mr Loughlin said the fire at the time was extreme, with flames in the treetops moving towards the residents.
"It was a very, very difficult situation yesterday for firefighters who worked extremely hard," he said.
Up to 150 firefighters worked through the night and into the early hours of yesterday morning battling the blaze.
Local firefighters were relieved by fresh crews yesterday morning.
The fire, near Blackbutt Rd and Sandstone and Curlew drives, has burnt more than 700 hectares.