Palerang fire spreading in multiple directions, Kings Highway closed

Ian Bushnell 6 December 2019

The North Black Range Palerang fire at Foxes Elbow, west of Braidwood on Thursday, 5 December. Photo: Croakers Towing Batemans Bay

Update – 12:00 pm, Friday, 6 December

The Kings Highway is once again closed east of Braidwood between Monga and Nelligen as the Currowan fire on the south coast impacts the area. The highway is also closed between Braidwood and Warri.

Live Traffic NSW says the highway at Nelligen was closed at 11:23 am and will remain closed in both directions until further notice. Residents of Nelligen will be allowed access.

The highway at Braidwood has been closed in both directions since yesterday.

At 1:54 pm, the Araluen Rd was closed in both directions between Braidwood and Moruya on the south coast. Residents of the area will be allowed access at the discretion of emergency services.

Meanwhile, the North Black Range Palerang fire continues to burn to the west of Braidwood and is spreading in multiple directions.

The NSW RFS says that conditions eased overnight, which allowed firefighters to conduct backburns and work to slow the spread of the fire.

Their latest advice is that the fire is burning in a north-easterly direction towards the Kings Highway in the Warri area. Crews are working to slow the spread of the fire.

The fire is also spreading in a south-easterly direction and crossed the Cooma Road in the Elrington area, yesterday afternoon [5 December]. The fire on the southern side of the Cooma Road has been contained. The fire continues to burn on the northern side of the Cooma Road.

“Westerly winds and very low humidity are forecast today,” the NSW RFS website says. “This is expected to increase fire activity throughout the day and may place pressure on containment lines, especially in the north-east area of Colombo Road, Larbert Road and Kings Highway (south of Shoalhaven River), and to the south area near the Tallaganda Forest, north of Cooma.

“If you are in the area of Warri, Braidwood, Bombay, Little Bombay, Mount Elrington, Wallaces Gap, Jembaicumbene Creek, Bendoura, Majors Creek, Reidsdale, Hoskinstown/Rossi, Forbes Creek and Buttmaroo, continue to monitor the situation. Follow the advice from firefighters.”

The Currowan and North Black Range Palerang fire grounds as of 10:00 am on Friday 6 December. Photo: NSW RFS website

Update – 6:00 pm, Thursday 5 December

The North Black Range Palerang fire has returned to ‘watch and act’ level after being listed as an emergency fire earlier today.

NSW Rural Fire Service officer at Lake George Darren Marks said they have had some success containing spot fires in areas including Harolds Cross, Majors Creek, Reidsdale and Jembaicumbene.

He said spot fires continue to burn in the areas of Mount Elrington, Bendoura or Wallaces Gap.

“The fire is burning in a north-easterly direction towards the Kings Highway. Crews are working to slow the spread of the fire,” Mr Marks said.

“The fire is also spreading in a south-easterly direction and has crossed the Cooma Road in the Elrington area.”

The Kings Highway remains closed to the northwest of Braidwood, between Deloraine Lane and Mayfield Road.

Further advice from the NSW RFS is:

  • If you are to the north-east of the fire in the areas of Six Mile Flat, Warri and Manar and your plan is to leave or you are now prepared, leave now towards Bungendore.
  • If you are along the Kings Highway between the Shoalhaven River and Black Sally Lane follow the advice of firefighters.
  • If you are in the area of Braidwood, Little Bombay and Butmaroo monitor conditions. Know what you will do if the fire threatens. Follow the direction of firefighters in the area.
  • If you are to the west of the fire in the areas of Hoskinstown, Rossi, and Forbes Creek, monitor conditions and know what you will do if the fire threatens. Follow the directions of firefighters.

Posted by The RiotACT on Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Update – 4:00 pm, Thursday 5 December

The village of Majors Creek south of Braidwood is bracing for a renewed threat from the North Black Range Palerang bushfire, with gusty westerly winds fanning the blaze which was spreading in multiple directions.

NSW Rural Fire Service spokesperson Darren Marks says the fire has been upgraded to Emergency level on Thursday afternoon, with spotting in the north along the Shoalhaven River and in the south over Cooma Road in the Farrington Road area.

The RFS has units deployed to protecting property in the Larbert Road area.

The flare-ups have closed the Kings Highway between Mayfield Road and Braidwood, and Cooma Road between Captains Flat Road and Braidwood.

The bush fire is burning through the Tallaganda National Park, and the Bombay and Braidwood areas, is more than 27,300 hectares in size and is being controlled.

Mr Marks said the fire was about 8 km from Braidwood but the area in the middle had been bolstered in recent days.

“We’ve done a lot of work there in the past few days, so that’s good protection for Braidwood,” he said.

But with the potential for the fire to run, Majors Creek was an area of particular concern and residents had been told to implement their bushfire survival plan.

“If they are not prepared we want them to have left already,” he said.

The RFS is advising people in the Mount Elrington, Bendoura or Wallaces Gap areas to seek shelter as the fire approaches. It advises those in Harolds Cross, Majors Creek, Reidsdale and Jembaicumbene to monitor the situation.

For those in the north-east of the fire, in the areas of Six Mile Flat, Warri, Manar, and along the Kings Highway between the Shoalhaven River and Black Sally Lane, and your plan is to leave or you are not prepared, leave now towards Braidwood.

Mr Marks said the battle today had been to deploy firefighters to tackle breakouts and spotting fuelled by the wind.

“We’re managing to hold these fires but we are expecting this sort of pressure to continue for another five hours,” he said.

The winds were not expected to ease until well into the evening and there was an ongoing risk.

“We have a real risk today and people need to be prepared and actively ready to defend their properties if fire approaches,” Mr Marks said.

The RFS have 170 firefighters on the ground and seven aircraft in the air attacking the blaze, as well as plenty of heavy machinery building containment lines.

For travellers, Mr Marks has this advice: “I’d be not planning to head through Braidwood this weekend.”

In Majors Creek, it’s a waiting game for those who have decided to stay.

Publican of the The Elrington Hotel, Kate Mitchell said most people who had wanted to leave had already done so and others with fire plans were waiting to see what movement there was across the Cooma Road before deciding what to do.

People were calm but “sick of waiting”.

The video below has the latest information from both the North Black Range and Currowan fires, as of 4:00 pm on Thursday, 5 December.


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