| 11.02,18. 09:29 PM |
Mt Canobolas blaze injures firefighter as RFS downgrades to watch and act
Photo: The fire is moving easterly, along Mt Canobolas Road. (Twitter: @johnpaille)
A fire burning out of control at Mt Canobolas in the Central Tablelands of New South Wales has been downgraded to watch and act despite reports of a firefighter sustaining injuries tackling the blaze.
The fire had prompted an emergency bushfire warning on Sunday afternoon, but by 6.30pm, it had been downgraded to "watch and act" as the threat to properties eased.
The NSW Rural Fire Service issued the initial emergency alert at about 4:00pm Sunday, after fire activity in the area increased during the day.
NSW RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers confirmed that the RFS was investigating reports a firefighter had been injured, but did not provide further details.
Mr Rogers said at this stage there had been no injuries to residents.
"A lot of people have moved out of those areas, they've heeded the warning of firefighters that if your home wasn't prepared, make sure you're not in that area…so that's obviously improved the safety aspects for the residents," he said.
Mr Rogers said firefighting efforts had been focused on protecting telecommunications towers, as well as property located on the edge of the fire.
"The fire is quite close to built up areas near Orange itself, as well as that communications infrastructure on Mt Canobolas, it's absolutely critical for those rural communities," he said.
Mr Rogers said conditions were expected to ease slightly on Sunday night, before low humidity over the next few days would make conditions difficult again.
"At 5:00am the fire was burning through a pine plantation really ferociously, so the fire behaviour has been quite extraordinary on this fire, given [it had been] the middle of the night."
The RFS had warned residents on and to the west of Pinnacle Road, and along Lake Canobolas Road, to leave their properties and head towards Orange if the path was clear.
The emergency directive had advised residents to only stay with their properties if they and their homes were well prepared for fire.
The RFS said more than 730 hectares had burnt and more than 100 firefighters were working to fight the fire, supported by waterbombing aircraft, including the DC-10 air tanker, Nancy Bird.
Residents near Boree Lane, Lidster and Borenore Road were advised to continue to monitor the situation and prepare a plan in the event that fire threatened.
Some local roads have been closed, including Mitchells Way, Canobolas Road and Old Canobolas Road.
The fire had previously been downgraded to "watch and act" after conditions eased on Saturday night.