Peat fire keeps crews on alert until 'significant rain'

The RFS is keeping watch on a peat fire burning near Woodburn.
The RFS is keeping watch on a peat fire burning near Woodburn.

A PEAT fire has been burning in Woodburn for the past four weeks and will continue to do so until significant rain comes, according to the Rural Fire Service.

Residents and travellers through Woodburn will have noticed a regular plume of smoke on the south side of the Woodburn-Evans Head Rd since before Christmas.

According to Woodburn RFS captain Ross Hansen, the fire is well contained.

"We have trucks going out there to keep it under control and the property owners have their eyes on it too," he said.

"With a peat fire it won't go out until there is some rain."

With temperatures in the area hitting the high 30s recently, the fire has continued to burn.

"It's frustrating that we can't put it out, especially when we know people have health issues with the smoke," said Senior Deputy Captain Scott Robinson.

"We just don't carry enough water."

The difficulty with a peat fire is it can continue to burn for a very long time.

"Peat is the build-up of leaves and bark over an extended period of time," he said.

"It then turns into one big flammable mass and when on fire just smoulders away. If left for a few million years that's what eventually becomes coal."

Topics:  rural fire service woodburn

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