Bushfire battle rages in Northern Rivers

FIREFIGHTERS are stretched to the brink, battling blazes across the Tweed shire, as nervous residents watch-on, precious belongings packed and ready to go.

Yesterday, the Tweed was enveloped in a thick smoke cloud, with several fires burning in the Northern Rivers area, including a large fire at Uki.

As many as 14 seperate bushfires kept Northern Rivers firefighters busy, five of which were in the Tweed shire alone.

"We traditionally don't see such a vicious start to the bushfire season ever," RFS Far North Coast manager Dave Cook said.

"We've had the warm days with low humidity but the nights we've had frosts which dry everything out.

"To put it in context, soil moisture level is on a scale of one to 100, with 100 being extreme. In Murwillumbah, it's 156 . "The Bushfire Danger Period starts on August 1, one month early, but we have suspended permits until further notice." Late yesterday, firefighters were battling blazes at Uki, Cudgera, Dungay, Burringbar and south Condong.

While it is believed most fires started from backburning, a few are still being treated as suspicious. Firefighters urge anyone thinking of lighting a fire to contact their local RFS station.



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