Firefighters hope easing weather conditions will allow them to contain a large bushfire in southern NSW that has reportedly destroyed more than 15 homes.
On Saturday, the 3,400-hectare fire is still burning about 10 kilometres east of Queanbeyan in the sparsely populated area of Captains Flat Road between Carwoola and Hoskinstown.
Overnight, about 100 firefighters worked to contain the blaze to the west of the old railway line in the Hoskinstown area.
There are fears that if the fire crosses the railway line, it will burn into rugged country and become more difficult to extinguish.
By midday, firefighters were continuing to search for new outbreaks as more fires were brought under control.
— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) February 18, 2017
The New South Wales Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) told ABC Radio Canberra there had been “extensive property losses”.
“Unfortunately we’ve counted at this stage 15 homes that have been lost, particularly around the Widgiewa Road area.” the RFS’s Darren Marks said.
At 8:00am (AEDT) the fire was about 80 per cent contained.
Firefighters hope they will manage to get around the entire perimeter of the blaze by 5:00pm today.
Rain in the area this morning bought some relief to firefighters, but also put crews on alert for vehicles becoming bogged.
Firefighters responding to Carwoola fire east of Canberra pic.twitter.com/RJvYo8Igy9
— ellinghausen (@ellinghausen) February 17, 2017
Speaking from the fire control centre in Queanbeyan, NSW RFS spokesman James Morris told ABC Radio Canberra the fire was not under control yet, but crews had done well overnight.
“The night guys have worked really hard in some pretty bad conditions out there, to be able to consolidate those containment lines,” he said.
Mr Morris said the fire was expected to grow again today — but not significantly.
On Friday evening firefighters on the ground were being supported by helicopters and Hercules aircraft and water tankers.
The RFS also called in strike teams from the Illawarra, Eurobodalla, Shoalhaven, Goulburn and the ACT to assist local firefighters.
The main areas of concern for firefighters on Friday evening were Rossi and Forbes Creek where residents were told to seek shelter because it was too late to leave.
Police established roadblocks in the area and affected residents were being accommodated at evacuation centres in nearby Queanbeyan and Bungendore.
RFS spokesman James Morris said falling temperatures and easing winds were helping firefighters contain the blaze.
“Crews are doing very well at this stage in pulling up and slowing the fire front,” Mr Morris told AAP.
“There are unconfirmed losses (of structures and livestock) on the fire ground.”
— Nick Haggarty (@NickHaggarty) February 17, 2017
RFS building impact analysis teams will be sent into the area over the next couple of days to determine losses.
Earlier in the day a firefighter aged in his 40s suffered pelvic injuries and burns in Carwoola and was in hospital in Canberra in a stable condition.
Meanwhile, an emergency warning for the Mandurama region, in the state’s central west, was downgraded as crews gained the upper hand.
“With conditions easing, firefighters are now slowing the spread of the fire,” the RFS said.
Total fire bans are in place for five NSW regions in the central west and southern parts of the state.
The ACT’s fire danger was rated as very high by the bureau, while the Southern Ranges were tipped to experience a high danger rating.
Authorities were pleased that they had made some progress on two devastating fires: the Sir Ivan blaze near Dunedoo and the Kains Flat blaze northeast of Mudgee.
The RFS is still counting the cost of last weekend’s “catastrophic” fire conditions that resulted in at least 44 homes being razed, RFS spokesman Paul Best said.