NSW bushfires: rain not enough to extinguish blazes ahead of rising temperatures

The Guardian 6 days ago

Firefighters are still working to contain northern New South Wales bushfires before temperatures rise in coming days.

Busbys Flat and Drake fires continued to burn along with several other blazes on Saturday, after a horror week in which an elderly couple died and at least 55 homes were destroyed.

NSW Rural Fire Service spokesman James Morris said rain had eased conditions significantly, but it wasn’t enough to extinguish the fires.

He said crews would keep working to contain them before temperatures and winds rose again in the coming week.

“We haven’t had enough rain to really make a difference to the ground fuels, so they will dry out very quickly once we see some sunny and windy weather again,” Morris said.

He said temperatures and winds were expected to increase from Tuesday.

The Busbys Flat fire, which authorities believe was deliberately lit, remained out of control on Saturday night, while the Drake blaze, which was started over a month ago by a lightning strike, was being controlled.

The latter fire claimed the lives of Bob Lindsay, 77, and his wife Gwen Hyde, 68. Their bodies were found in their destroyed Coongbar home on Thursday some two days after fires roared through the region.

On Sunday a second contingent of firefighters from South Australia were set to head to NSW to help their colleagues battle a string of fires.

Fifty-two personnel, including two paramedics, were scheduled to leave Adelaide on Sunday to be deployed in the north of the state. They were set to replace a similar-sized group that joined the fight about a week ago.

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