Firefighters are battling a fire that started near Whatman’s Lane, to the west of Tumut, which has burnt more than 150 hectares of land.
Three helicopters and about 20 fire-fighting units from various agencies, including the Rural Fire Service, Fire and Rescue NSW, Forestry NSW and National Parks and Wildlife Service have been at the fire-front for the past two hours.
The helicopters have now returned to the airport, unable to carry out firefighting operations beyond dusk, but have played a critical role in assisting in attempting to contain the blaze.
The cause of the blaze is as yet undetermined, but the RFS believes lightning was not a factor.
The fire began near a property on Whatman’s Lane, and quickly raced up the ridge towards Visy, and then rapidly turned east, in the direction of Tumut as fierce winds fanned the flames and created unpredictable fire behaviour.
At this stage, there are no reports of any houses or other structures being destroyed.
Firefighting activity is focused on the Northern and North Western front, just a couple of kilometres from the Visy Pulp and Paper mill at Gilmore.
RFS spokesperson Peter Jones said the blaze was “being contained”.
“I’m a lot more confident now than I am was about an hour ago, when the winds were creating unpredictable behaviour,” Mr Jones told the Times at about 8.45pm.
“The change has come through and I’m now fairly confident we’ll be alright.
“The southern part of fire is basically out, and that’s due to some good fire-fighting.
“But there’ll be a lot of work to do over the next couple of days.”