Supplied/Blake Hoskinson

Battle to control Tweed blaze

SIX helicopters yesterday water-bombed a large bushfire on the Tweed Coast that threatened a number of homes.

Almost all residents at Tanglewood, west of Cabarita Beach, voluntarily evacuated as the flames reached within metres of their homes.

Fortunately, no houses were destroyed by the fire which late yesterday remained uncontained, Rural Fire Service public liaison officer Stuart O’Keefe said.

“The (house) threat has certainly reduced but there’s always that risk until this fire is completely contained,” Mr O’Keefe said.

“Residents need to remain vigilant for the next couple of days until the weather changes.”

Mr O’Keefe said six water-bombing helicopters, which drop about 500 litres of water at a time, were yesterday operating.

“They’re trying to cool down hot spots that may potentially be outside the containment lines or outside the fire front.

“They back up the fire crews and try to lessen the impact.”

Mr O’Keefe said there has been no formal evacuation of houses.

“What we ask people to do is voluntarily relocate. This is always the best and safest option.”

The fire, which is burning in the Cudgen Nature Reserve and Kings Forest, and another on the Pinnacle, part of the Border Rangers, are believed to have started from lightning strikes on Saturday night.

Clothiers Creek Road, from Cabarita Beach almost to the Pacific Highway, was closed on Monday and remained blocked to through traffic late yesterday.

“The reason the road is closed is because crews are still operating in that area,” Mr O’Keefe said.

“It’s a safety factor.

“That area has to be assessed to make sure it’s safe. We ask people to be patient with that.”

Residents of the area were yesterday allowed to return briefly to their homes under escort.

Tweed Byron Police yesterday considered closing the Pacific Highway due to the smoke hazard but decided it was not necessary.

Despite predicted adverse weather conditions, Mr O’Keefe said the bushfire behaved well yesterday.

“It hasn’t overly grown in size from this (Tuesday) morning, but that’s not to say we’re out of the woods.

“The initial containment lines have held but there’s still a lot of work to be done before it’s completely contained.”

Fire crews, that have received back up from other areas in the state, will today be working to strengthen containment lines.

The fire at the Pinnacle is being monitored by National Parks.

Survival plan

The Rural Fire Service has a bushfire survival plan brochure which can be downloaded from its website at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au. It identifies the need for people to act decisively in the event of a bushfire.

It says to protect yourself from injury or death, do not adopt the ‘wait and see’ option. Fires can threaten suddenly and without warning, so you must be prepared to act decisively rather than wait for a warning that may not come.

Always be aware of the current fire danger rating in your area.

Act decisively the moment you know there is danger.

Put your plan into action; do not ‘wait and see’.

Be alert for signs of fire, particularly the smell of smoke or the sight of flames.

Look and listen for information on radio, television, the internet, mobile phones and by speaking to people in your community.

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Fire evacuates Tanglewood



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