Narrabri Fire and Rescue are currently in Tenterfield forming part of Strike Team Oscar assisting with a large bush fire with multiple houses under threat.
Narrabri Fire and Rescue are currently in Tenterfield forming part of Strike Team Oscar assisting with a large bush fire with multiple houses under threat. Fire & Rescue Narrabri

Firefighter critical, 4 homes lost in 'horrific' fire

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UPDATE: A COMBINED emergency services operation is continuing after a number of fires in the state's north.

Officers attached to New England Police District and Richmond Police District are coordinating emergency operations at Tenterfield, Drake, and Ebor, as NSW Rural Fire Services continue to fight fires around the areas.

At this stage, it's believed four residential properties at Tenterfield have been destroyed, along with a shooting range.

A 66-year-old male Rural Fire Service firefighter sustained serious burns to his head, face, and upper body. He was taken to Royal Brisbane Hospital where he remains in a critical condition.

The New England Highway at Tenterfield, and Waterfall Way at Ebor, were closed during the day's operation but have since reopened.

The public is reminded to be mindful of the dangerous conditions. Updates on fires can be monitored via the NSW RFS website (https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/), and weather warnings via the NSW SES website (https://www.ses.nsw.gov.au/).

Anyone with information about these fires is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

 

UPDATE 8.10pm: A FIRE is burning in Flagstone Road, Legume and has been upgraded to an emergency warning. 

The fire is burning in a south easterly direction, towards the New Koreelah area.

A west to south westerly change is expected at between 2100 and 2200hrs tonight. This will push the fire towards the area around Mount Lindesay Road.

Residents in the area should seek shelter as the fire approaches.

Take shelter in a solid structure when the fire front arrives. Protect yourself from the heat of the fire. If you are caught in the path of the fire, you may die or be injured.

If you live in the area but are away from home, it may not be safe to return to your property.

Residents in the Drake area should continue to monitor the situation.

A west to south westerly change is expected at between 9pm and 10pm tonight. This will push the fire towards the area around the Bruxner Highway.

UPDATE 5.55pm: AN RFS firefighter has been taken to Tenterfield Hospital suffering from burns.

Channel 10 is reporting the  firefighter has suffered significant burns to his face, hands and airways while fighting the fire south of the Tenterfield township. He will be airlifted to Sydney for specialist burns treatment

Fire & Rescue NSW said two homes and a shed have been lost to fire south of Tenterfield.

Fire & Rescue spokesperson Superintendent Rob Jansen confirmed the destruction of homes in Clifton st and Billirimba road in Tenterfield this afternoon. The shed was lost on Weston Road.

Fire crews managed to save a home in Scrub Road, with a crew able to control a grass fire around the home.

Supt Jansen said the fire began in Weston Street, before moving east towards the Saddler Estate.

He said Fire & Rescue has eight trucks fighting the fire, assisted by the NSW RFS, QLD fire service vehicles and a helicopter.

Supt Jansen said crews were fighting an ember attack at Common Road.

He said RFS crews were fighting the head of the fire while Fire & Rescue NSW crews were protecting property.

Commissioner of NSW Rural Fire Service Shane Fitzsimmons said the situation was "quite volatile".

"These fires are burning intensely and aggressively driven by 50 to 70 to 90kph winds," he said.

"It is a very difficult and uncontrollable fire situation."

He said while the temperature was set to drop tomorrow fire-fighters would still face strong winds.

"We are still going to see dominance of these very strong winds out of the west," he said

"We have a long night ahead and pretty long weekend ahead as well."

Current Situation
Fire activity has increased. The fire is burning in remote terrain south-west of the Drake village, within the Girard State Forest.
The fire has crossed Long Gully Road, Rocky (Timbarra) River and is moving in an easterly direction toward the Clarence River.

Advice
It is too late to leave. Residents in Ewingar, Tilbaroo and areas on the western side of the Clarence River should seek shelter as the fire approaches.
Take shelter in a solid structure when the fire front arrives. Protect yourself from the heat of the fire. If you are caught in the path of the fire, you may die or be injured.

Other Information -
An Evacuation Centre has been established at the Tenterfield Showgrounds, 62 Miles St, Tenterfield. It is open today, Friday 6 September from 18:00hrs to 23:00hrs. It will open again on Saturday 7 September from 07:00hrs to 23:00hrs.
Members of the public can register their details prior to attending the Evacuation Centre. Visit Register Find Reunite site at https://register.redcross.org.au/ and register for the 'Bushfire in Tenterfield'.
If your life is at risk, call Triple Zero (000) immediately. - Continue to stay up to date with the bush fire situation by checking http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au, listening to your local radio station or by calling the NSW RFS Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737. - For information on road closures, check http://livetraffic.rta.nsw.gov.au. Roads may be closed without warning.

 

An aerial view of Tenterfield fire.
An aerial view of Tenterfield fire. NSW RFS

UPDATE, 5.38pm: POLICE are urging Tenterfield residents to head to the showgrounds if they need somewhere safe to stay.

As intense fire conditions continue in Tenterfield, a NSW Police spokeswoman said the Tenterfield Showgrounds was the official evacuation point for residents.

Anyone needing to evacuation should go there immediately.

Meanwhile, Rural Fire Service Far North Coast spokeswoman said all fire permits will be suspended on Saturday across the Northern Rivers and Far North Coast.

"It's so dry and with that wind people are getting caught out," she said.

"It's not worth the risk, what's happening in Tenterfield will mean crews will be most likely helping out over there.

"While the temperature will drop tomorrow, winds are still expected to be up to 30km per hour."

 

UPDATE 5.32pm: AN EVACUATION centre has been established at the Tenterfield Showgrounds at 62 Miles St, Tenterfield.

 

UPDATE, 5.20pm: A NSW RFS spokesman said crews were still battling a number of fires across the state, with two emergency warnings currently in place for fires at Tenterfield and Long Gully Road near Drake.

The spokesman said fire behaviour was "very erratic" and dangerous due to current weather conditions.

"The main message is people need to seek shelter as the fire approaches, because in some cases because it's too late to leave," he said.

"If you are in a fire-affected area, stay put, don't be driving along roads."

The spokesman said visitors should not enter these fire-affected areas and avoid the areas if possible.

"People should be monitoring the ongoing situation, both using local radio and the Fires Near Me website," he said.

Travellers are also advised to monitor Live Traffic, as there are road closures in place on the New England Highway.

The highway is closed from the intersection of Bluff Creek Road through to Rouse Street in Tenterfield.

 

UPDATE 4.29pm:

Tenterfield:

THE Tenterfield community is rallying together to fight the fires, using their own water sources to help battle the blaze.

Speaking from Tenterfield, Lismore MP Janelle Saffin said everyone is in "a bit of shock" about the fire surrounding the town but spirits remain strong.

"It's on the outskirts of the town and skirting around. Because of the wind it's blowing through quickly," Ms Saffin said.

"It's so dry already out here and there's no power in town."

After being briefed by Tenterfield Mayor Peter Petty and the council's general manager, who becomes the emergency services person for the area during a fire situation, Ms Saffin said residents were prepared for the worst. 

"Everyone is trying to help how we can," Ms Saffin said.

"All the locals have taken their own water out to the fires to assist the fire brigade.

"These are guys who have been in rural fire brigade for years.

"Everyone's jumping into help."

Drake:

Fire activity has increased. The fire is burning in remote terrain south-west of the Drake village, within the Girard State Forest.

The fire has crossed Long Gully Road, Rocky (Timbarra) River and is moving in an easterly direction toward the Clarence River.

Advice
It is too late to leave. Residents in Ewingar, Tilbaroo and areas on the western side of the Clarence River should seek shelter as the fire approaches.

Take shelter in a solid structure when the fire front arrives. Protect yourself from the heat of the fire. If you are caught in the path of the fire, you may die or be injured.

Other Information
• If your life is at risk, call Triple Zero (000) immediately.
• Continue to stay up to date with the bush fire situation by checking http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au, listening to your local radio station or by calling the NSW RFS Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737.
• For information on road closures, check http://livetraffic.rta.nsw.gov.au. Roads may be closed without warning.

 

UPDATE, 4.15pm: FIRE crews have confirmed that at least three homes have been destroyed in a devastating bushfire at Tenterfield.

A F&R NSW spokesman said two homes were destroyed in Clifton St, and crews were at Billirimba Rd where a house is well alight.

"Currently we only have three trucks in the town with RFS ," he said.

It is understood five more fire trucks are on their way from Inverell.

The RFS has also reported that fire activity at Drake has increased.

The fire is burning in remote terrain south-west of the Drake village, within the Girard State Forest.

The fire has crossed Long Gully Road and is moving in an easterly direction.

Strong winds may blow embers ahead of the main fire front and start new fires.

It is now too late to leave. Residents in the area of Long Gully Road should seek shelter as the fire approaches. Protect yourself from the heat of the fire.

 

UPDATE, 4.05pm: THE Tenterfield bushfire is moving south east, along Scrub Road, the RFS has reported.

So far the fire has impacted Laird Street, Francis Street, King Lane, Scott Lane and Trail Lane.

At this stage it is not known how many homes have been affected by the blaze.

 

UPDATE, 3.40pm: TENTERFIELD Shire mayor Peter Petty said it is an "horrific" situation unfolding in Tenterfield.

"We are concerned about residents in those houses in the path of the fire," he said.

"We are hoping everyone has gotten out safely."

Tenterfield resident Judith Birch-Watts captured these images of the bushfire burning on the southern side of Tenterfield.
Tenterfield resident Judith Birch-Watts captured these images of the bushfire burning on the southern side of Tenterfield. Judith Birch-Watts

Cr Petty said while information has been spotty, he praised the work of firefighters battling the blaze.

"Obviously we are also concerned about the safety of the brave firefighters and hope they are all safe while they are fighting to protect the town," he said.

Tenterfield High School and Sir Henry Parkes Public School were evacuated at 2.45pm on the advice of the emergency services to their respective evacuation points - the Commercial Hotel carpark and a fire station.

Parents have been asked to collect their children from those evacuation points.

Transport for NSW have been advised.

Meanwhile, more than 2000 homes are without power across the Tenterfield region.

 

UPDATE 3.19pm:

Tenterfield fire

AUTHORITIES are warning it is now too late to leave an area near Tenterfield under fire attack.

It is too late to leave.

Residents should seek shelter as the fire approaches.

Protect yourself from the heat of the fire.

Drake fire

Fire activity near Drake has increased. The fire is burning in remote terrain south-west of the Drake village, within the Girard State Forest.

Strong west to north westerly winds are pushing the fire in easterly direction towards Long Gully Road. A predicted wind shift later this afternoon may push the fire towards the Drake township.

Strong winds may see embers blown ahead of the main fire front and start new fires.

Advice for Drake fire

If your plan is to leave, do so now towards Drake, before the fire threatens.

Other Information

  • If your life is at risk, call Triple Zero (000) immediately.
  • Continue to stay up to date with the bush fire situation by checking http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au, listening to your local radio station or by calling the NSW RFS Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737.

 

UPDATE 2.56pm: FIVE separate fires are burning on the outskirts of Tenterfield.

The largest fire is burning near Mt Mackenzie Road.

Other fires are now burning at locations near Douglas Street, Derby Street, Dam Lane, and 4kms south of Tenterfield.

 

Original story: A FIRE burning near Tenterfield has been elevated to Emergency Warning level.

A bush fire is burning in Mount Mackenzie Road, on the southern outskirts of Tenterfield. The fire is moving east and has crossed Young Street.

The fire is moving towards homes in Laird Street, Francis Street, King Lane, Scott Lane and Trail Lane.

Advice

Residents should seek shelter as the fire approaches. Protect yourself from the heat of the fire.

Check and follow your Bush Fire Survival Plan. If you do not have a plan, decide what you will do if the situation changes. Leaving early is your safest option.

 

Original story: A RESIDENTIAL estate on the outskirts of Tenterfield is under direct ember attack.

Numerous fire crews are at Saddlers Estate fighting the blaze.

The New England Highway is closed in both directions near Clifton Street at Tenterfield due to a bush fire.

Emergency services are on site.

Motorists are advised to avoid the area and delay their trip.


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