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Resources ramped up to battle blazes

A helicopter bombs water at the West Blowering Road fire yesterday.

Efforts to combat a dozen fires in the Snowy Valleys region were both helped and hindered by widespread rain and storms throughout the area last night.

Several new fires were sparked by lightning and access to fires became more difficult, but the rain also reduced fire behaviour on the ground at blazes near Talbingo, above West Blowering Road and near Tooma.

None of the 12 fires burning in the district is threatening lives or property.

A fire at West Blowering Road, about five kilometres from Tumut; another on Little Talbingo Mountain, near the township of Talbingo, and three fires near Tooma, around Possums Point, are expected to burn for weeks.

None of those fires expanded significantly in size overnight.

A new fire at Geehi, and another near Tooma, were listed as out of control this morning. The remainder were either under control or being contained.

Out of area crews have been brought in to assist firefighting efforts.

More than 100 firefighters and 30 tankers, including crews from the Shoalhaven, Southern Tabelands, Yass, Crookwell, the mid-Murray and other Riverina towns will battle the blazes today.

Remote area firefighting specialists have also been brought in.

They’ll be assisted by 11 aircraft, including four fixed-wing bombers and seven helicopters, as well as three dozers.

RFS operational officer Bradley Stewart said the fire activity would pick up throughout the day, as temperatures rose and the wind increase.

“The fires will start to wake up and start moving about, as those variables change,” Mr Stewart said. “But I would point out that those fires are in isolated areas and the rate of advance is slow.”

Mr Stewart said the most significant of the fires – at West Blowering, near Tooma, and near Talbingo – would burn for some time.

“These fires are burning in areas where fuel loads are 20-plus tonnes to the hectare,” Mr Stewart said.

“Whilst in time we’ll be able to get around the periphery of fires, using men on the ground and heavy machinery, the interiors of those fires won’t be fully extinguished for some time.”

Residents around Talbingo and at Tooma were warned they may see a marked increase in smoke from this afternoon, with the prospect that fire-fighters may begin backburning operations in those areas later in the day.

The fire at Little Talbingo Mountain posed no immediate threat to the residents of Talbingo, he said.

Out of area crews, including this one from the south coast, have arrived to assist fire-fighting efforts.