Push to dampen fire before heat returns

CONTAINMENT lines around a fire near Jerilderie have held for another day and firefighters worked desperately through the night to try to make it safe before tomorrow.

The fire has burned more than 3000 hectares after starting as a 270-hectare fire from a lightning strike on Monday night in Conargo, 50 kilometres north-west of Jerilderie.

It jumped Yanco Creek on Tuesday afternoon and incident controller Lindsay Ashbrook said they chased the fire all day.

“We were able to catch it up,” Mr Ashbrook said.

“We were fortunate, the creek in itself was a pretty good thing to hit because it slowed it down.”

The containment line is only 12 kilometres west of the Jerilderie township and Mr Ashbrook praised the more than 100 firefighters, nearly all volunteers, who fought the fire under trying conditions with winds roaring at more than 45km/h.

“It’s been a tremendous effort from the people on the ground and operators to contain it, especially in conditions like they had Tuesday. It was pretty horrific out there,” he said.

Mr Ashbrook said he had faith in the fire breaks to the north and west of Jerilderie.

“If the fire had have run into Jerilderie I was confident we would’ve been able to hold it but at the same time we just don’t know ... if we had embers blowing into town, fire breaks, they don’t make a difference,” he said.

Two properties between Conargo and Jerilderie were under threat, but were protected by water bombers.

The official number of stock lost is 72 but Mr Ashbrook expects that number to rise.

The challenge was to ensure the fire was controlled before tomorrow’s hot temperatures and high winds.

He said crews were working hard on blacking out the area to ensure no embers spark.