Tamworth storm conditions spark fresh fire concerns


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FIRE crews have been kept busy after storm conditions ignited new fires across the region on Wednesday night. Lightning strikes are thought to have caused the fires, four of which are burning near Tamworth. The Liverpool Plains were more severely affected, with new fires sparking in places such as Pine Ridge and Scotts Creek. Read Also: NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) Liverpool Range deputy incident controller Allyn Purkiss said crews were working hard to bring the blazes under control. “I’d like to think we are getting on top of things, but the impact predicted storms will have on Thursday night and Friday will determine our workload over the weekend,” Mr Purkiss told the Leader. “The heat and humidity created by these storms are also making our job more difficult. “However, we do have some firefighting aircraft, crews and heavy plant equipment on standby to assist if any fires do get going.” Support the local news that keeps you informed – subscribe today. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is expecting temperatures to ease in Tamworth at the weekend. “At the moment, it looks like temperatures will be down in the low 30s and even the 20s, which should hopefully bring us some relief,” Mr Purkiss said. “However, the real key for us is if the storm conditions ease off. “If that happens, we should be able to go a long way to getting on top of these new fires and any more that might pop up in the next few days. “Any potential rainfall we might get over the next few days would be a great help as well.” Mr Purkiss said recent rainfall had helped crews contain several fires. “The rain has been great for some people in terms of filling their tanks and dams,” he said. “However, it has been very patchy and it certainly hasn’t fallen everywhere. “Either way, we will be on alert for the rest of the season, or until we see some really decent rainfall.” Have your say, send a letter to the editor. A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for the region for Thursday. Storms could produce heavy rainfall in the Northern Tablelands and parts of Mid North Coast and North West Slopes and Plains. Severe thunderstorms are likely to produce heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding in the warning area over the next several hours. Locations that may be affected include Armidale, Tenterfield, Glen Innes, Emmaville, Tingha and Bendemeer. In the wake of the latest fires, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced emergency funding for several councils across the country. Armidale, Walcha, Inverell, Glen Innes Severn and Tenterfield were among the 42 shires to receive the $1 million assistance package. Eligible councils can use the funds to rebuild damaged assets and public facilities, and employ local staff to take on specialist recovery roles. They could also host public activities to bring their communities together, or do immediate maintenance and repairs to relief and evacuation centres. Sign up to receive The Leader’s breaking news and top stories straight to your inbox.

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