Blaze burns 3500 hectares at Carwoola

AFTERMATH: The view from Widgiewa Road, Carwoola after the fire burned through homes and hectares of land. Photo: Jay Cronan.
AFTERMATH: The view from Widgiewa Road, Carwoola after the fire burned through homes and hectares of land. Photo: Jay Cronan.

Eleven homes have been lost and 12 more damaged in a fire which ripped through 3500 hectares of land at Carwoola.

Of those 11, one belonged to a senior firefighter who was out defending the homes of others. A further 45 outbuildings were destroyed and 40 were damaged.

There was "quite a number" of stock lost. At least 56 homes were saved by firefighting efforts, many came within inches of the fire.

The fire, which began on Friday, a day of total fire ban, was contained on Saturday afternoon.

About five millimetres of rain fell on the charred earth on Saturday bringing relief, as Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council administrator Tim Overall and NSW deputy premier and Member for Monaro John Barilaro surveyed the destruction.

Mr Overall said he had spoken to devastated families who had lost their homes, but they managed to escape with their lives.

“The situation was extremely dangerous, a very rapid and strong fire with intense heat,” Mr Overall described.

“I”m aware a number of firefighting units were under grave danger at certain stages, the fact there was no loss of life is a great relief.”

Mr Barilaro said it would take a long time for the community to get back to normality, but the government was prepared to make sure the resources were available for that to happen.

“I know a lot of the people in this region, I’ve been their local member for the past six years,” Mr Barilaro said.

“This is close to home, and when it’s close to home there is emotion attached to it because they are the people you know, the community you know,” he said.

NSW RFS confirmed two firefighters had been injured while fighting the blaze and were taken to the Canberra Hospital. About 200 firefighters, 50 fire trucks and at least 10 aircraft worked to establish containment lines on Friday, but the blaze had burnt 2700 hectares by 7pm.

NSW Rural Fire Service deputy commissioner Rob Rogers praised the actions of volunteers crews on the ground, saying the situation could have been much worse.

"The fire moved frighteningly quickly and the remarkable thing is how quickly that fire developed," he said. "Anybody that looks at that landscape can see how quickly that fire moved through that area and how very lucky we are that there wasn't loss of life or more property."

He said the RFS was "very concerned" about the potential of the fire.

"We threw everything we had at it," he said. "It's as good an outcome as we could have got, but our sympathy goes out to those who have lost their homes." Crews continued clean-up work on Sunday ahead of hot weather this week.


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