Homes lost, firefighter injured as Queanbeyan blaze burns out of control

The fire at Widgiewa Road near Queanbeyan, NSW. Photo: Jay Cronan
The fire at Widgiewa Road near Queanbeyan, NSW. Photo: Jay Cronan
A pair of locals try to escape the fast moving fire near Queanbeyan. Photo: Jay Cronan

A pair of locals try to escape the fast moving fire near Queanbeyan. Photo: Jay Cronan

At least 15 homes have been destroyed in the blaze. Photo: Jay Cronan

At least 15 homes have been destroyed in the blaze. Photo: Jay Cronan

Residents were told to leave their homes on Friday. Photo: Jay Cronan

Residents were told to leave their homes on Friday. Photo: Jay Cronan

At least 10 aircraft helped to battle the blaze. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

At least 10 aircraft helped to battle the blaze. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Firefighters responded from as far away as Shoalhaven and the Illawarra. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Firefighters responded from as far away as Shoalhaven and the Illawarra. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

More than a dozen homes in NSW have been lost and a firefighter is injured after an out-of-control grass fire burnt through nearly 3000 hectares.

The blaze is burning at Carwoola, near Queanbeyan on the NSW-ACT border.

At least 15 properties are believed to have been lost with others under threat.

A firefighter was taken to hospital after suffering burns while battling the fire, Greg Allan from the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) said.

Nearly 200 firefighters, 50 fire trucks and at least 10 aircraft were working to establish containment lines, but the blaze had burnt 2700 hectares by 7pm on Friday, he said.

Three air tankers, including two from Victoria, dropped a line of fire retardant which helped to stop the blaze from spreading further, the RFS said.

Firefighters faced 34-degree heat and winds of more than 30 kilometres an hour as they battled the blaze, but Mr Allan said conditions started to ease by nightfall.

He said crews would continue trying to contain the fire overnight before facing potentially worse conditions on Saturday.

"If it is not contained by tomorrow, higher temperatures will make it harder for firefighters," he said.

Firefighters told residents near Carwoola and Captains Flat it was too late to leave at about 3pm on Friday. The fire had crossed Widgiewa Road, Whiskers Creek Road and Captains Flat Road.

At about 8pm, the fire advice had dropped from 'emergency' to 'watch and act'.

Those in the area of Hoskinstown, Rossi, Forbes Creek and Primrose Valley were urged to seek shelter. Properties were under threat along Widgiewa Road, Whiskers Creek Road, Yilgarn Road and Captains Flat Road.

An update on the Rural Fire Service website told residents it is "too late to leave". "Protect yourself from the heat of the fire," it said.

"A number of properties have been destroyed by the fire. The exact number will not be known until conditions ease."

Homes on the northern side of the fire remained under threat on Friday night, as crews battled to slow it from spreading west.

Two evacuation centres were set up at Bungendore Public School hall and the Q Theatre in Queanbeyan, where school children travelling on buses were also redirected.

Crews included those from NSW Rural Fire Service, ACT Fire and Rescue, and others who travelled to help from Shoalhaven, the Illawarra, Cooma, Monaro, and the Southern Tablelands.

A total fire ban was enforced in the ACT region on Friday.

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A spokesman for the ACT Emergency Services Agengy said the fire, which was travelling in an eastbound direction, did not pose any threat to the ACT.

NSW fire crews were also battling a fire in Blayney, west of Bathurst, on Friday afternoon.

For the latest advice, check the RFS website.

 

Driving home tonight sucked. Hope everyone is ok. #carwoola #captainsflat #bushfire #fire #nsw #queanbeyan

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With Finbar O'Mallon and Sherryn Groch

This story Homes lost, firefighter injured as Queanbeyan blaze burns out of control first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.