Southerly change gives firefighters the upper hand

A SOUTHERLY change has given firefighters the upper hand in containing a blaze which has burnt out more than 8400 hectares in the Jerrawangala area.

Around 173 fire fighters are still working at the size to contain the blaze over the 100km perimeter.

With them are 31 fire tankers, seven arcraft and about 10 heavy machinery units who are working to strengthen containment lines throughout the day.

An early southerly change was welcomed by Rural Fire Service volunteers this morning with temperatures expected to reach a top of 32 degrees today.

“Today we’re creating containment lines around the 100km perimeter, this fire is a fair way around and parts of it are in quite rugged terrain, it’s causing a bit of a headache” RFS public liaison officer, Inspector Brett Loughlin said.

He said the good news for fire crews was containment lines had held over night and the fire hadn't crossed through a former military range scattered with unexploded bombs.

“While it only takes one ember to get across the line (for the fire to spread), at this stage it’s looking good,” he said.

Inspector Loughlin said containment lines on the eastern side of the fire, near the Princes Highway, were holding strong and the threat to communities in and around Sussex Inlet had eased.

The Princes Highway remains open, however this is subject to fire conditions with smoke expected to impact.

“Today’s focus is to continue to strengthen those containment lines and really continue to get the upper hand."he said.

While containment lines had been established around much of the large perimeter, he said a continuing struggle for fire fighters was the rugged terrain in the North West part of the fire boundary which was burning uncontained.

He said the fire was burning close to cliff edges, making it difficult for fire crews to work with however it was homed the status of the fire would be reviewed with cooler conditions expected tomorrow and Monday.

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