Cool change brings relief after catastrophic fire rating day in South East

Genevieve Jacobs 21 December 2019
Fire near Nerriga

Queanbeyan Fire and Rescue images of the fire near Nerriga on Saturday. Photo: Facebook.

A cool change is helping to ease conditions after the now-massive Currowan fire flared between Batemans Bay and areas just east of Braidwood during catastrophic conditions.

There were reports of an intense fire thunderstorm system forming earlier today and ash “falling like snow” in Goulburn from the fire, which has now covered 144,000 hectares.

While attention has been focussed further north towards Nowra and Ulladulla, spot fires broke out today around Tudor Valley Road and Cargills Lane near Braidwood. Residents there and in Northangera, Mongarlowe, Charleys Forest Road and Nerriga were advised to depart for Braidwood if safe to do so.

All available Queanbeyan RFS staff and fire trucks are currently committed to the Currowan fire. They are mostly engaged in property protection in the Nerriga area where residents sheltered in the pub as the fire passed through around 6:00 pm. While the historic centre of the village was saved, it’s not yet known how extensive damage is in the area.

Current fire coverage for Queanbeyan is being provided by ACT Fire & Rescue.

Motorists are being urged in the strongest possible terms to reconsider their need to travel along the Kings Highway between Bungendore and Braidwood. While the road is still open a number of emergency vehicles will need to use the Highway and surrounding roads over the coming days.

The Kings Highway remains closed between Braidwood and Nelligen for the foreseeable future. The Araluen Road through the Deua has also been closed for safety reasons.

The Bureau of Meteorology says that the forecast cool change has arrived on the Currowan fire ground this evening, bringing with it much cooler temperatures and higher humidity.

Current conditions as of 10:00 pm were 18 degrees in Ulladulla and Nowra, 15 degrees in Braidwood and 18 degrees in Nerriga 18. Relative humidity is reasonably high at 72 per cent in Ulladulla and 80 per cent in Braidwood.

Winds will be generally southeasterly along the coast, tending more easterly inland and while they remain fresh along the coast, wind speeds are sitting at 15-20 km/h on the fire grounds.

“As we move into tomorrow we’ve got south easterlies along the coast and closer to the ranges. That will bring humid air off the ocean and help to ease conditions,” a BOM spokesman said.

“The forecast temperatures for tomorrow are mostly in the low 20s across the region and in the higher areas, around the Budawangs, will hover around the high teens.”

The NSW Rural Fire Service will host two Bushfire Information Sessions on Sunday, 22 December 2019 in Nerriga at 11:00 am and in Batemans Bay at 4:00 pm. These sessions are for residents who have been impacted by or likely to be impacted by the Currowan fire.

The Nerriga meeting will be held in the Community and Sporting Association Hall on the corner of Nerriga and Willow Forest Road, while the Batemans Bay meeting is at the Hanging Rock Function Centre in Hanging Rock Place.

To stay up to date on bush fires in your area call the NSW RFS Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737 or check the NSW RFS website. For road reports and updates visit Live Traffic NSW.

Use the Register.Find.Unite service to register your location, and find and reunite with family, friends and loved ones after an emergency.


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