Fires and floods: emergency services respond on Friday afternoon

Firefighters are still containing a bush fire in Bendick Murrell National Park on Monday.

About 30 Rural Fire Service [RFS] and National Parks and Wildlife firefighters are working to downgrade the 135 hectare blaze, which sparked from lightning during severe storms on Friday afternoon.

Fifteen RFS trucks, two aircraft, a bulldozer and 60 firefighters from the South West Slopes Rural Fire Service responded to the call about 12.30pm.

At 1.30pm on Monday, it was rated “being controlled”, however  RFS District Manager Andrew Dillon was confident it would be “contained” by Monday night.

“The firefighters did a fantastic job to limit that fire to 135 hectares in such difficult conditions. There was high wind and really hilly terrain,” he said. 

“The fire ran in the forest country and it took work to contain. Some rain helped firefighters reduce the spread.

“I really want to thank Gail Butt, a volunteer from the Monteagle Brigade, who has been feeding people at the fire over the last four days.”

The RFS responded to 14 incidents on Friday afternoon, mainly tree fires caused by lightning strikes.

Meanwhile, Young police responded to nine storm-related incidents on Friday. Police closed the Wambanumba Bridge which was flooded from about 7pm till 8.45pm.

Most incidents were fallen trees on roads surrounding Young, Police Sergeant Paul Martin said.

“Power lines were down on Prospect Street, some alarms went off, trees were on roads and we’d go to make sure there was no immediate danger. If it was at a blind corner we’d set up traffic control, if it was easy to see and gave people plenty of time to slow down we’d refer it to council,” Young Police Sergeant Paul Martin said.

It was also a busy afternoon for SES volunteers in the region. There were seven call outs in Young and Harden respectively.

All jobs were related to flooding and required sandbagging or tarps to be placed on roofs.

A pub at Jugiong was the hardest hit by flooding, according to SES Hilltops Local Commander Ros Bickford.

“It copped a lot of mud and water. Because of the lack of rain we’ve had, the ground is so hard, and the only place it could go was run to a lower point,” Ros Bickford said.

Bureau of Meteorology data shows about 45mm of rain was dumped at Young Airport in six hours on Friday.

Reports of more than 60mm at Murringo was shared on the Young Witness Facebook page.