Bushfires closing in

RESIDENTS on the Mount Forest Road near Numeralla were advised to evacuate yesterday in the face of predicted catastrophic fire conditions today (Tuesday).

The large bush fire burning near the Mount Forest Road community has been contained but not controlled and the Monaro Rural Fire Service (RFS) fears it will get away when the predicted strong winds arrive today.

The Bureau of Meterology (BOM) has forecast very high temperatures and high winds gusting up to 80 kilometres an hour today. RFS deputy fire controller Pam O'Brien said 13 homes near the fire, in the Carlaminda locality on Mount Forest Road would be undefendable.

Police started doorknocking yesterday, providing 'relocation advice' to residents and advising them to enact their bush fire survival plans.

Ms O'Brien said an expected wind change would take the fire into the path of the community living along the Mount Forest Road.

"All available resources are at the fire at the moment and it is contained. However, the BOM is predicting catastrophic weather conditions tomorrow (Tuesday) and the RFS cannot guarantee that the fire will remain contained under those conditions, and we cannot guarantee residents' safety if they remain in the area," Ms O'Brien said.

"We are operating on a worst case scenario and houses in the vicinity will be door knocked today (Monday) letting residents know they need to enact their evacuation plans.

"They are being advised to secure their properties and enact their bushfire survival plans and relocate to family or friends.

"Not even the most well prepared properties are defendable under catastrophic conditions," she said.

There is a large multi-agency response with helicopters water bombing the fire.

Over the weekend firefighters battled 13 fires across the Monaro, many started by lightning strikes. 

Most of the fires have been controlled, but two fires, the Yarrabin and Brest Fire Trail near Shannons Flat remain a concern.

People have been advised to listen to fire warnings and updates on ABC local radio on 1602 in the Cooma Monaro Shire or 810 for the Jindabyne area, or go to the RFS website on www.rfs.nsw.gov.au.

The RFS said under these conditions there is a total fire ban and all fire permits have been cancelled.

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