The constant hum of helicopters above has been a reassuring sound for the Horton family over the last couple of days.
Their home on West Blowering Road is little more than a stone’s throw away from a fire burning in dense bushland.
Brian Horton heard the whack of lightning that sparked the blaze on Thursday evening, one of several that began in the Snowy Valleys region during a storm. Most of those fires are still burning, and more were ignited during another storm last night. None are threatening property.
“We get a bit of lightning out here but this one was a real thump,” Mr Horton said of the strike which sparked the fire near the ridge of a steep hill that backs onto his property, a few kilometres from Tumut.
RFS crews were quickly on the scene, and have been a constant presence since.
About 40 firefighters worked to halt progress of the blaze last night and today, assisted by aerial water bombing provided by two helicopters.
“The choppers were going all day yesterday,” Steve Horton, Brian’s son, said. “They’re back again today, along with the 40 firefighters up there.
“We’re very grateful to the RFS. They’ve been terrific. There’s been a vehicle out here virtually the entire time.”
A weather front that came through yesterday evening directed the fire away from the Horton home, and Brian said he’s not had cause to be overly concerned about the fire reaching his house.
“The communication from the RFS has been terrific and we have a decent break between the bushland and our home,” he said. “There’s always the possibility of embers, but so far that’s not been a problem.
“We can’t praise the RFS enough.”
Overnight, light rain fell across the area reducing fire behaviour, but also making access to some firegrounds difficult.
Firefighters, water-bombing aircraft and heavy plant will continue to work today to contain the fires. Backburning operations are planned for the Little Talbingo Mountain and Possum Point fires this afternoon.
Smoke from the fires is likely to impact residents and visitors in the Talbingo, Tumut, Tooma, Khancoban and Blowering Dam areas.
Kosciuszko National Park Road 5 has reopened between Khancoban and Cabramurra.
The Snowy Mountains Highway remains open however smoke in the area may affect visibility. Motorists are advised to exercise caution and drive to the conditions.
Advice from the RFS
- Check and follow your Bush Fire Survival Plan. If you do not have a plan, decide what you will do if the situation changes. Leaving early is your safest option.
- If you live in the area, monitor the conditions and follow the advice of firefighters.
- If you are visiting or camping in the area, monitor the situation and know what you will do if you are threatened by fire.
- If affected by smoke, close windows and doors. Seek medical attention if your condition worsens.
- If your life is at risk, call Triple Zero (000) immediately.
- Continue to stay up to date with the bush fire situation by checking http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au, listening to your local radio station or by calling the NSW RFS Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737.
- Stay up to date with the Fires Near Me NSW smartphone app.
- For information on road closures, check http://livetraffic.rta.nsw.gov.au. Roads may be closed without warning.