The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) has contained a hazard reduction burn that jumped containment lines in Allambie Heights over the weekend, alarming locals with the large amount of smoke it created.
Rural Fire Service Inspector Ben Shepherd spoke with Manly Observer this morning, 5 December confirming the uncontained fire had resulted in an additional 10 hectares of bushland being burned at Manly Dam.
Inspector Shepherd said there were some tight and challenging control lines used to conduct the burns over the weekend.
Responding to criticism over the burns being conducted on a moderately warm weekend – or at all – Inspector Shepherd wanted to remind readers that rainy conditions had meant hazard reductions could not occur as normal in the cooler months, and the weekend weather was relatively mild and within prescribed limits.
The Inspector said the Northern Beaches is lucky to have very skilled Rural Fire Service operators volunteering in the area, and this particular burn was very challenging. The team was well prepared but fires are “not without risk,” he said.
“The recent warm and windy weather has definitely dried out the landscape. And now the Beaches area is more susceptible to fire and people need to be mindful of that. The Northern Beaches area didn’t burn during that awful 2019/20 season and now there is a risk obviously to homes here [after heavy growth]. We must all plan and prepare accordingly.”
The Northern Beaches area didn’t burn during that awful 2019/20 season and now there is a risk obviously to homes here [after heavy growth]. We must all plan and prepare accordingly.”
The fire at Allambie is almost complete, with crews returning today to keep it in check.
What happened over the weekend?
A RFS spokesperson told Manly Observer yesterday that the burn being conducted near Manly Dam on Saturday 3 December jumped the containment lines at the western edge at around 4pm, burning into bushland around the dam.
“The area of bush [outside the hazard reduction burn] was difficult to access on the ground, and so a water bombing helicopter was sent to assist approximately 100 NSW RFS firefighters working to contain the fire,” the spokesperson said.
“At no point were properties under threat,” the spokesperson said.
“At no point were properties under threat.”
RFS crews worked to contain the fire into Saturday night and were able to bring it under control on Sunday morning. We are also aware of a flare up on Sunday but this was quickly contained.
The fire alarmed locals, with many calling emergency services in panic as large columns of smoke spread across the local area and could be seen for many kilometres.
Concern of “repeat of North Head” waste recurrent criticism on our and other social media channels, referring to the hazard reduction burn that broke containment lines in October 2020. This was a National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS)-led hazard reduction burn which had intended to burn about nine hectares of bushland at the headland but it spotted in several locations following strong winds, resulting in widespread fire throughout more than 50 hectares of the National Park.
As seen below on the Fires Near Me app, the bushfire at Allambie Heights this weekend has burned 25 hectares.
The smoke was an unusual sight in Sydney after the drenching rain of the past few months made it difficult for fire crews to conduct their regular hazard reduction activities due to wet vegetation.
The NSW RFS advises the following during hazard reduction burns in your area:
For more information on hazard reduction burns visit https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/fire-information/hazard-reductions
With all the wet weather we have experienced across the state, our grasslands have seen significant growth. As these fuels dry out during the hotter months, they will become fire prone. Don’t be complacent, prepare your property for the fire season. Visit: https://t.co/ZY2RrvLZCu pic.twitter.com/J9ZmT2FFnN
— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) December 1, 2022