Currowan fire: East Lynne homes protected as blaze pushes east

NO WHERE NEAR OVER: Fire continues to burn on the Princes Highway north of Batemans Bay on Tuesday, December 3. PICTURE: Stuart Thomson.
NO WHERE NEAR OVER: Fire continues to burn on the Princes Highway north of Batemans Bay on Tuesday, December 3. PICTURE: Stuart Thomson.

Firefighters spent a grueling night keeping homes and the East Lynne store safe, the Rural Fire Service says, and they face a tough day as the fire pushes east towards the coast.

Spokesman Marty Webster said crews faced fallen and falling trees as the Currowan fire moved further east from the Clyde River and jumped the Princes Highway at East Lynne on Monday night, December 2.

They were also defending the Willinga Park equestrian centre at Bawley Point.

"We worked on a lot of properties around East Lynne last night and had a lot of success there, however fire has begun to increase in that area this morning," Mr Webster said

"We are seeing a lot of large trees fall.

"A lot of the vegetation was stressed before the fire went through. One key reason for keeping road closures in place is the long list of fallen trees. That is a key safety concern for firefighters themselves.

"We have done really well so far; this has been a protracted fire and we have not had any reports of serious injuries and we want to keep it that way.

"Even after the main front moves through, the falling trees are a real hazard that should not be underestimated."

There were more than 135 firefighters on the Currowan fire ground on Tuesday, December 3, from the RFS, Fire and Rescue NSW, National Parks and NSW Forestry.

A CFA strike team from Victoria had also been working, but was off duty today.

"We have close to 40 appliances and eight heavy plant including dozers, excavators and water tankers," Mr Webster said.

"We have up to half a dozen aircraft available today, but there have been challenges with smoke this morning.

"The eastern side of highway is burning pretty hard, both north and south.

"Crews continue protecting life and property. There is active fire around Kioloa."

They also gathered to defend the Bawley Point equestrian centre, Willinga Park, overnight. Mr Webster said it was a well-prepared property and was not in extreme danger.

He said firefighters were keeping "two big fingers crossed for the eastern side of highway", where fire had jumped in two sections, north and south.

The fires were pushing east towards Pebbly Beach in the south and Kioloa in the north, through forested areas.

While the prevailing wind was from the west, winds were also swirling and conditions could change according to topography.

Mr Webster said morale was good at the the Nowra-based fire control centre.

"Everyone is looking after each other really well, but there is no doubt we are fatigued," he said.

The Princes Highway remains closed between Batemans Bay and Burrill Lake. and Mr Webster urged everyone to monitor the RFS advice.

"People need to stay informed," he said.

"This is still a dynamic fire ground and things can change quickly."

This story Crews defend Willinga Park, East Lynne; falling trees risk to firefighters as blaze moves to coast first appeared on Bay Post-Moruya Examiner.