Our local heroes control the fire

FIREFIGHTERS' prayers were answered in dramatic fashion when rain fell on the Yarrabin (Mount Forest Road/Carlaminda) fire ground on Sunday night.

Relief at the cooler conditions even before the rain fell was obvious at a well attended community meeting at Numeralla on Sunday afternoon.

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The bushfire alert for the fire has been downgraded to "Advice" level and there is no immediate danger - a far cry from the "emergency" warning issued in extreme heat and wind conditions on Saturday afternoon.

While the Yarrabin fire - only 20 kilometres from Cooma - is still a long way from being "out," it has slowed with the rain and cool change and remained within containment lines over the weekend.

The potential threat to the community - particulrly those living in the Numeralla area and Kybeyan Valley - will remain for at least the next seven days, and people need to remain vigilant and continue to be aware of the conditions in their area.

The Yarrabin fire has burnt out 12,000 hectares of bush and grassland since it started last Sunday. Total stock losses are unkown at this stage.

Rain in the Kybeyan Valley has changed containment strategies through to the end of the week.

Due to the wet conditions and potential for vehicle damage to the newly formed control lines, dozens of fire fighters had a welcome rest on Sunday night for the first time since the fire began eight days ago.

While the rain will delay the planned back burning strategy, it will help the direct attack by ground and helicopter crews.

Sunday's multi agency planning has identified options for direct attack on the southern and northern flanks of the fire, using remote area fire teams (RAFT).

Countegany farmers Craig Mitchell, and Tony Goodwin, who attended the Numeralla meeting said they were happy with the situation at the moment.

Mr Goodwin said he estimated their properties were between 12 and 15 kilometres from the fire.

"I moved cattle and sheep into a safer paddock," Mr Goodwin said. "We were very concerned on Tuesday."

With cooler temperatures set to remain until Thursday the hard work of further containment has begun.

Graders have been working for 24 hours a day on containment lines and fire trails around the entire 60 kilometre fire perimeter, and the fire is fully contained within these containment lines.

RFS Inspector Fred Nichols said the current weather conditions provided a window of opportunity for aggressive fire fighting, by helicopter and ground crews.

Work on the fire has been prioritised according to the greatest risk, with the eastern half of the fire in the Kybeyan Valley, the main focus, along with the Tuross Gap areas.

The issue of communication was raised at the meeting and police inspector Tony Hill said the agencies were aware of the problems with mobile phone and internet access.

"Police were doorknocking affected properties in the area on Monday and have continued to be in contact with the community throughout the crisis," he said.

Inspector Hill said emergency communications would be the topic of the first mulit-agency recovery committee meeting when it was all over.

Another fire causing concern, the Brest Fire, west of Shannon's Flat is controlled and contained. Fire crews will continue to mop up and monitor the fire ground over the coming days.

For more information monitor the Cooma-Monaro Express website, contact the Cooma Rural Fire Service (02) 6455 0455 or Facebook - Monaro Team Rural Fire Service, or NSW RFS Bushfire Information Line 1800 679 737 go to the website for regular fire updates www.rfs.nsw.gov.au

Photos from the fire:

THE FACES OF OUR FIRE HEROES

BEHIND THE SCENES 

MOUNT FOREST ROAD FIRE

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