3 November 2018

Pierce's Creek bushfire: Fresh challenges for firefighters as new day dawns

| Lachlan Roberts
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The fire is burning erratically about 7km from the nearest suburb. Photo: Jack Mohr.

With a new day, comes fresh challenges as firefighters continue to battle a bushfire at Pierce’s Creek, west of Canberra.

Firefighters worked overnight to extinguish the fire and strengthen containment lines and will continue on the ground and in the air today.

Earlier this morning, crews were alerted to smoke at Bullen Ranges Nature Reserve. Investigations by ground crews and aircraft found no flames, and it was believed to be smoke pushed from the Pierce’s Creek fire. The area will continue to be monitored throughout the day.

Firefighters said the existing firefront continues to be uncontrolled but conditions are currently favourable after the storm that shook the ACT dampened the area overnight. Due to the terrain, firefighters are experiencing milder conditions than the public may feel in the city.

Due to back-burning operations, the size of the fire has increased to 189 hectares and is still 7km away from the nearest suburb – Kambah.

13 ACT Rural Fire Service crews and five helicopters are continuing their work to control the fire, with ACT Fire & Rescue crews on alert should additional support be needed.

There are also three bulldozers and two graders assisting with building containment lines on-site.

An ACT ESA spokesperson said while the fire was still uncontrolled, there was no immediate danger to the community, no threat to property and no evacuations have been ordered for residents, horses or other animals.

Yesterday, ACT ESA Commissioner Dominic Lane said the outlook to the weekend was not good, with dry conditions forecasted for the coming days.

“Whilst we will see milder weather on Saturday, we will be back into high and possible severe fire danger on Sunday and Monday. This is not over by any means,” he said. “In my mind, this is not even the beginning of summer and we have a long hot summer against us.”

Westerly winds will drift smoke over the ACT today from the Pierces Creek fire and continue to be visible over the coming days.

The Health Directorate advises that people with asthma, other chronic respiratory and/or chronic cardiac diseases should not perform vigorous exercise and should stay inside if affected by the dust or smoke.

People with asthma, in particular, should continue their medication and consult their general practitioner if they have any difficulties.

ESA is asking the public to avoid the area so emergency crews can focus efforts on extinguishing the fire.

The following roads are closed due to the fire:

  • Kambah Pool Road, from Kambah Pool to Mount Vernon Drive
  • Paddy’s River Road, between the Cotter Road picnic area (near Brindabella Road) and Tidbinbilla Road to the intersection of Point Hut Crossing

The following areas are not accessible:

  • Kambah Pool
  • Camp Cottermouth
  • Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
  • Bullen Range Nature Reserve
  • Pierces Creek Forrest

All public inquiries regarding bushfires and emergency management should be referred to the ACT ESA on 6207 8444 or at www.esa.act.gov.au or to Access Canberra on 13 22 81 or at www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au.

Do you have photos or information about the fire to share with The RiotACT? Go to our Facebook or Twitter page and tell us what you’re seeing, but make sure you stay safe at all times and don’t take risks.

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