Rural Fire Service rehydration of Lindfield Park Road peat moss bushfire proving effective

Smoke continues: The Rural Fire Service says smoke will continue to impact across the Mid-North Coast while a number of bushfires continue to burn.
Smoke continues: The Rural Fire Service says smoke will continue to impact across the Mid-North Coast while a number of bushfires continue to burn.

From January to November, Port Macquarie would typically received an average of 1355mm of rainfall.

For the same period in 2019 we've received just 478mm.

That startling figure puts into perspective the dire state of the drought conditions and the impact the reduced rainfall has on the current bushfire situation.

The Rural Fire Service says there are currently nine fires burning across the Mid Coast district.

The Coombes Gap (32,315ha) and Rumba Complex (109,039ha) fires are being controlled while Burrawan Forest (18ha) and Lindfield Park Road (910ha) fires are contained.

Stockyards East (86,308 ha), Crestwood Drive (3535ha), Big Nellie Road (105ha), Bills Crossing Crowdy (12,870ha) and Hillville Road (31,268ha) fires are at patrol level.

RFS and Fire and Rescue NSW, Forestry Corp and National Parks and Wildlife Service crews are continuing to work on a number of fires strengthening containment ahead Fridays forecast weather.

Crews are also working on a number of fire impacted areas to make safe ahead of the Christmas school holiday season, including the Crowdy Bay area.

RFS district officer Stuart Robb says the decision to rehydrate the Lindfield Park Road peat moss fire was also proving successful.

"In excess of 40 megalitres of reclaimed water has now been used on that site and we are continuing to see positives results from this hydration," he said.

"We will continue to monitor this situation on a weekly basis.

"Realistically, we will continue to rehydrate over the next four to six weeks with the view to continue to monitor because we are seeing positive signs and also increasing waters levels (are being recorded).

"Rehydration is having an impact on keeping temperatures down."

There are now very few re-ignitions within the Lindfield Park Road fire while aerial scanning is being used to monitor the effectiveness of the work.

Ring of fire: This snapshot from Fires Near Me shows the extent of bushfires across the Mid-North Coast. Courtesy: Rural Fire Service

Ring of fire: This snapshot from Fires Near Me shows the extent of bushfires across the Mid-North Coast. Courtesy: Rural Fire Service

Despite the best efforts by fire fighters some smoke is likely to continue to filter across the Port Macquarie-Hastings, relevant to prevailing weather conditions.

Mr Robb said fires on the western fringes of the Port Macquarie-Hastings are significant in size.

"The conditions relating to these fires can change on a day to day basis along with the changes in the weather," he said.

"I would anticipate that we would continue to see smoke in the morning but clearing through the day, depending on the prevailing wind patterns for that particular day.

"Fairly strong winds from the north east - coastal breezes - tend to clear everything quite quickly," he said.

Weatherzone meteorologist Kim Westcott says Port Macquarie and the wider Mid-North Coast could see average rainfall recordings in the January to March window.

"There appears a good chance of meeting or even exceeding the average rainfall for January 2020," she said.

"The long term average (for January) is about 159mm.

"To give you an indication of how dry it's been, the November long term average is 157mm which is recorded at the Port Macquarie Airport. This year you've received just 10mm."

The fire danger rating for Thursday December 5 was very high.

The RFS advises people to review their bushfire survival plan with the family, monitor and stay informed about fires in your area and keep up to date with the Fires Near Me app.