The Minjary fire has blackened a huge mass of land between Tumut and Gundagai with the fire remaining active in a number of locations around Quidong Road.
This fire has now burnt more than 2600 hectares and stock losses have been reported, including around 90 sheep on a property in the Gundagai Shire.
It’s understood one house has been partially burnt, and a shed destroyed.
Crews were on the scene working between Quidong Road and Minjary, where the fire continues to burn, albeit within containment lines.
The RFS is hoping the containment lines will be of a strength that the fire may be downgraded from watch and act status some time tonight.
Out of area crews are scheduled to arrive tomorrow to help local fire-fighters.
Gocup Road was re-opened earlier tonight.
The RFS remains concerned at the potential for further lightning strikes in the area this Friday.
Firefighters aided by aircraft and heavy plant are working to protect properties and establish control lines around the Minjary Fire, which has now burnt more than 2600 hectares.
Stock losses have been reported and will be assessed in the coming hours.
Gocup Road remains closed between Tumut and Gundagai.
The RFS has advised landholders to check and follow their Bush Fire Survival Plan.
If you plan is to leave, or you are not prepared, leave early.
Under the current weather conditions, well prepared and actively defended homes can offer safety.
Fire-fighters are being praised for their efforts in helping to save property from fires that are raging in the Tumut, Gundagai and Tumbarumba Shires.
At this time, no houses have been lost in the region to fire, though there are reports of some sheds being destroyed, stock losses, and partial damage to one house near Minjary.
The fires started late yesterday afternoon when a series of lightning strikes hit the region, moving from Gundagai in the north to the Murray River.
There were multiple ignitions across the three shires that comprise the Riverina Highlands zone, leading to three major blazes: at Minjary, between Tumut and Gundagai; on the Snubba Range, west of Blowering Dam; and in the Murraguldrie State Forest area, between Humula and Little Billabong.
District Manager of the Riverina Highlands Zone, Superintendent Ian Stewart, praised the efforts of fire-fighters who battled throughout the night to protect life and property.
“They did an almighty job under extremely difficult conditions,” Supt. Stewart said. “They worked right through the night undertaking property protection and making sure the fires did not grow to greater proportions.
“It was a phenomenal effort.”
And it’s far from over, with the Superintendent warning people the fires may continue for some time.
“These fires are with us until we get significant rain,” he said. “Given the conditions, it’s been a matter of when, not if the fires came, and with the storms last night, everything lined up.”
In excess of 80 fire-fighters have been on the ground at the Minjary blaze, which has burnt out more than 400 hectares in the vicinity of Gocup Road and the Tumut River, about 15 kilometres from Tumut.
Local Rural Fire Service crews have been joined by fire-fighters from the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Forests NSW.
The Minjary fire, which began late yesterday afternoon, quickly escalated and immediately threatened a number of houses in the immediate area.
RFS crews were quickly on the scene, and were subsequently aided by water-bombing helicopters until nightfall.
During the late hours of Saturday night the fire went on a run to the west, crossing the Gocup Road, and continuing west.
Crews focused on property protection throughout the night, as residents joined with fire-fighters to repel the flames from encroaching on houses. A number of residents opted to self-evacuate, with one new resident requiring assistance to find accommodation.
Today, fire-fighters on the ground have been assisted by a grader and two bulldozers, as well as seven water-bombing aircraft, which have been sourcing water from the Tumut River and local dams.
Supt. Stewart said crews would continue to focus on protecting property, and would aim to strengthen containment lines.
Gocup Road remains closed at this time.
Crews from outside the region have been tasked to assist, including a strike team from the ACT and other crews from throughout the Southern Region.