FIRE has razed almost 2000 hectares of local land in a week with two major fires still burning in the Manning Valley.
A total fire ban has been declared by the NSW Rural Fire Service in the Greater Taree City Council area in a bid to prevent new fire threats that could ignite in the hot, dry, windy weather conditions.
Strong north westerly and west north west winds yesterday created challenging fire conditions for crews who were working in hot conditions to contain two fires currently impacting the region. Twenty kilometres north west of Wingham is the Dingo Tops/Big Run Fire and as of yesterday, it had claimed 1673 hectares of land. The second fire, located south-east of Taree near Purfleet had claimed 253 hectares of land.
This week, NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS), National Parks & Wildlife Service and Forest NSW are working to strengthen and consolidate containment lines. It is a big job that involves more than 350 people, six helicopters and heavy machinery.
According to NSW RFS spokesman, Paul Grath, fire crews are currently fully resourced and said the "support from local employers had been sensational" in allowing men and women to leave their work to come and help fight, control and contain current fires.
Mr McGrath said it is critical the community understand that the absence of smoke does not mean the absence of fire in the local area, or an easing of fire bans.
"The community needs to be vigilant and alert to total fire bans and weather conditions," Paul said.
"Just because they can't see or smell smoke doesn't mean the risk of fire doesn't exist and we need people to be alert."
The NSW RFS wants people in fire affected areas, or those who live in or near bushland to take forecast weather conditions seriously.
According to NSW RFS Commissioner, Shane Fitzsimmons, people need to be alert and complete a Bush Fire Survival Plan now or review their current plan in order to protect their family and property should they be threatened by fire.
Residents are encouraged to download a Bushfire Survival Plan from the NSW RFS website www.rfs.nsw.gov.au or the "Fires Near Me" app which is available on iPhone or Android.