Fire fears grip ACT as Braidwood blazes send smoke haze west

Michael Weaver 29 November 2019 1
Mount Gillamatong

Braidwood’s Mount Gillamatong was barely visible on Thursday afternoon. Photo: Mary Mathais.

Emergency services have reassured residents that a widespread smoke haze across the region does not pose a threat to communities, and urged residents to only use the emergency triple-zero number if they see an unattended fire.

This appeal comes after the ACT Emergency Services Agency received more than 250 triple-zero calls about the smoke.

Two fire fronts are continuing to burn across a rugged area of 1150 hectares west of Braidwood, with easterly winds pushing the smoke haze across the region and into the ACT.

In Braidwood, particles of burning ash were falling in the streets on Thursday afternoon.

Braidwood fires

The two fire fronts are burning in widespread areas near Braidwood. Photo: Supplied.

An ACT Emergency Services Agency spokesperson said these fires did not pose a threat to the Territory.

“A change in wind direction has caused the smoke to blow across the region,” the ESA said in a statement last night.

“The ACT Emergency Services Agency wishes to reassure the community that there are no fires burning in the ACT.”

The advice also applies to communities in the wider Queanbeyan-Palerang region, where last night’s ‘watch and act’ alert for the North Black Range, Palerang fire, has now been reduced to an ‘advice’ level fire.

At 8:30 am this morning, the NSW Rural Fire Service said the bushfire in the Tallaganda National Park has grown to cover more than 1150 hectares and is burning out of control on multiple fronts.

The fire is burning in a south-westerly direction towards Forbes Creek and Hoskinstown.

To the east, the fire is also burning towards Muloons Creek and Bombay.

“Fire activity has eased across the fire ground overnight,” the NSW Rural Fire Service says. “Firefighters will continue to undertake backburning operations where conditions allow.

“Residents in surrounding areas including Queanbeyan and Canberra will see an increase of smoke.”

The advice for residents in the areas of Forbes Creek, Hoskinstown, Muloons Creek and Bombay is to monitor conditions and take advice from firefighters in the area.

Firefighters and aircraft are working to slow the spread and notify residents in the area.

Residents can monitor fires in NSW and the ACT via the NSW Fires Near Me page on the NSW Rural Fire website.

A total fire ban remains in place across the ACT and southern NSW region. The total fire ban was declared yesterday (28 November) with dry conditions and a top of 34 degrees. Westerly winds later in the day are expected to blow the smoke haze back towards the coast.

However, easterly winds in the evening may again create further smoke haze across the area.

Clyde River

The view west from the Clyde River near Batemans Bay. Photo: Alex Rea

The ACT Health Directorate’s air quality readings across Canberra have all been labelled ‘hazardous’. The Directorate has advised residents to take appropriate precautions.

The ACT Health website says most people will not experience any health impact.

“However, people who are more sensitive to smoke in the air, particularly those with asthma and other heart or lung conditions, should be aware and take precautions. This includes taking medication as prescribed by their doctor, limiting time spent outdoors and avoiding vigorous exercise.”

Anyone with concerns about their health should seek medical advice from their health practitioner, and anyone experiencing wheezing, chest tightness or difficulty breathing should seek urgent medical assistance.

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One Response to Fire fears grip ACT as Braidwood blazes send smoke haze west
Capital Retro Capital Retro 1:31 pm 29 Nov 19

“The ACT Emergency Services Agency wishes to reassure the community that there are no fires burning in the ACT.”

Didn’t we hear statements like this a number of years ago? Those memories plus all that smoke last night (and no explanation of it on radio or TV) is why Canberra residents are a bit twitchy.

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