Live coverage of Mount Canobolas fire: Showground used as evacuation point

SMOKE RISING: Smoke from the fire at Mount Canobolas. Photo: ANDREW MURRAY
SMOKE RISING: Smoke from the fire at Mount Canobolas. Photo: ANDREW MURRAY

SUNDAY, 8.15pm The fire at Mt Canobolas has been given an alert level of watch and act, on Sunday evening. 

The threat to properties in the area has eased however more than 100 firefighters continue to work across the fireground.

Crews are building containment lines and the fire was most recently heading in an easterly direction.

EVACUATION CONTROL POINT TO REOPEN AT 7.30AM

HOT AT THE TOP: The fire approaching the peak of Mount Canobolas. Photo: MARK GRAY/FACEBOOK

HOT AT THE TOP: The fire approaching the peak of Mount Canobolas. Photo: MARK GRAY/FACEBOOK

SUNDAY, 7.45PM The evacuation point and advice centre in the ELF at Orange Showground will reopen Monday at 7.30am. 

During Sunday afternoon staff met several residents who came in wishing to donate and offer their support. 

However, at this stage no one has come in requesting help.

BLAZE MIGHT WORSEN, SAYS RFS

SUNDAY, 6PM: The deputy commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service has warned the Mount Canobolas bushfire might worsen in the coming days.

Speaking to ABC News, the RFS’s Rob Rogers said the weather and wind forecasts for Sunday night and the next few days were a cause for concern.

“It looks like it will be a difficult night and a difficult day (Monday),” Mr Rogers said.

“The fire is quite close to built-up areas and to Orange itself.”

Mr Rogers said the “extraordinary” fire had started in a pine plantation and the efforts of RFS crews had taken a toll.

“There have been some injuries to firefighters”, he said, adding there were people on the ground determining how severe those injuries were.

MEET HERE: The Family and Community Services disaster relief unit's Dennis Shrimpton at the new evacuation point of the Naylor Pavilion. Photo: ANDREW MURRAY

MEET HERE: The Family and Community Services disaster relief unit's Dennis Shrimpton at the new evacuation point of the Naylor Pavilion. Photo: ANDREW MURRAY

SUNDAY, 4.20PM: THE evacuation site for residents has been changed since the fire on Mount Canobolas has been upgraded to emergency status.

Residents evacuating their properties were previously being assembled at Nashdale Hall, but are now being asked to move to the new evacuation site at Orange Showgrounds.

Officials at the showground’s Naylor Pavilion are coordinating the movement of the evacuees into motels across Orange or encouraging them to stay with family and friends if at all possible.

The pavilion's doors have been opened to accommodate both people and animals, including domestic and farm pets like lambs.

OFFICIALS UPGRADE FIRE TO EMERGENCY STATUS

SUNDAY, 4PM: The warning for the Mount Canobolas fire has been upgraded to emergency status.

According to the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) “fire activity has increased over the past few hours and the fire is moving in an easterly direction along Mount Canobolas Road”.

The RFS is advising residents on and to the west of Pinnancle Road and along Lake Canobolas Road to only remain if they and their property are well prepared.

If that is not the case they being told to leave towards Orange, but only if the path is clear.

Residents in the vicinity of Boree Lane, Lidster and Borenore Road should also continue to monitor the situation and know what they will do in the event the fire threatens.

Road closures are in place including Mitchells Way, Canobolas Road and the Old Canobolas Road.

VIDEO: An aerial view of the fire approaching the mountain’s summit ...

CREWS HELPING THOSE WILLING TO EVACUATE HOMES

SUNDAY, 3.20PM: NSW Rural Fire Service crews are evacuating residents from their homes on Lake Canobolas Road into Orange.

NSW RFS media liaison Bruce Reynolds said crew members are assisting people in the area who are willing to leave their homes in the event the bushfire burning on Mount Canobolas approaches.

It is not an enforced evacuation: Those residents who have prepared their homes for the fire and are willing to defend them are allowed to remain on their properties.

RFS INUNDATED BY GENEROUS DONATIONS BY CITIZENS

SUNDAY, 2.55PM: THE Canobolas Zone NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) has been inundated with donations to help their crews fighting the blaze on Mount Canobolas.

In a post to their Facebook page, the brigade thanked those who had delivered items to Nashdale Hall – which is acting as an evacuation point – since their call for assistance on Sunday morning.

“Thank you again for the huge support to our volunteers, it is greatly appreciated,” the post read, explaining they will not be taking any further donations.

Catering teams are now in place for both the Mount Canobolas fire and Belerada Creek fire.

Authorities have also closed Nancarrow Lane and asked motorists to continue obeying instructions from RFS crew members.

SIZE OF LAND CONFIRMED DESTROYED BY FIRE GROWS

SUNDAY, 2.10PM: The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) has said the bushfire burning on Mount Canobolas has now burnt out 347 hectares of land.

Crews are being aided by five bulldozers and two graders on loan from Cabonne Council to build containment lines.

They are in addition to the DC-10 Air Tanker which has made three water-dropping runs over the site and is filling up at Richmond.

GIANT HELP: The DC-10 Air Tanker being deployed to drop another mass of water on the fire.

GIANT HELP: The DC-10 Air Tanker being deployed to drop another mass of water on the fire.

Additional support is coming from a team of helicopters, which are re-stocking their water supplies at nearby dams.

Crews are focusing their efforts on protecting the telecommunications infrastructure at the mountain’s summit, with the fire approaching the peak from the north.

The RFS has deployed people on the ground to advise and consult with nearby landowners, although there have been no forced evacuations at this point.

VIDEO: The burnt-out area on Sunday morning ...

WATCH AND ACT ORDER REMAINS IN PLACE FOR RESIDENTS

SUNDAY, 1.30PM: A ‘watch and act’ order remains in place for residents near the scene of the blaze burning on Mount Canobolas.

According to Canobolas Zone NSW Rural Fire Service the fire has destroyed 298 hectares of land, although this figure has not been updated since this morning.

The affected areas include National Parks, state forests and private land.

ON HIGH ALERT: NSW Rural Fire Service crews on Sunday.

ON HIGH ALERT: NSW Rural Fire Service crews on Sunday.

According to a post on the NSW RFS Facebook page crews are continuing to work on containment lines.

“The Very Large Air Tanker (VLAT) Nancy Bird (DC-10) is working to construct containment lines around vital communications infrastructure on Mount Canobolas”, the post read.

It concluded that “there are no immediate threats however residents need to be vigilant and continue to monitor the situation”.

WARM AND WINDY WEATHER TIPPED FOR SUNDAY AFTERNOON

SUNDAY, 1PM: The firefighting crews battling the blaze on Mount Canobolas will have to counter less than  ideal conditions, according to the latest forecasts.

According to weatherzone.com.au the temperature is expected to reach 30 degrees on Sunday afternoon, with wind gusting at up to 31km/h.

WHAT'S AHEAD: Orange's four-day forecast as published at www.weatherzone.com.au.

WHAT'S AHEAD: Orange's four-day forecast as published at www.weatherzone.com.au.

The winds are blowing out of the west-south-west.

If the forecast is to believed the coming days will see similar conditions, with Monday (29), Tuesday (30) and Wednesday (31) all set to see hot temperatures.

AUTHORITIES ANNOUNCE FURTHER ROAD CLOSURES

SUNDAY, 12.30PM: The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) has announced further road closures near the scene of the fire burning on Mount Canobolas.

There is no access to Lake Canobolas Road via Cargo Road.

The intersection of Pinnacle Road and Racecourse Road near the border of Orange and Cabonne shires is also closed.

Motorists can not access Canobolas Road from Racecourse Road or Ploughmans Lane.

REQUEST FOR DONATIONS TO HELP FIREFIGHTING CAUSE

SUNDAY, 12PM: Food, water and ice have been requested to help keep fire brigades at full strength as they battle the fire on Mount Canobolas.

Nashdale Hall on Cargo Road is a designated evacuation point for those who have been advised to evacuate and have nowhere else to seek shelter. 

Committee members have been at the hall since 7.30am on Sunday, cooking bacon and egg rolls and preparing sandwiches for firefighters and residents.

PITCHING IN: Angela and Graham Sattler brought in litres of milk on Sunday.

PITCHING IN: Angela and Graham Sattler brought in litres of milk on Sunday.

Licensee Michael Sabotta lives on Mount Lofty Road and watched the fire all night, deciding to start food preparations to help firefighters coming off shift.

Woolworths donated bacon, eggs and breadrolls, with Coles also donating bread and ham, IGA coming through with bread and water.

Pioneer Brewery supplied beer for the firefighters after their shifts.

With donated resources running out, committee secretary and treasurer Sian Jacobs said sandwiches were the main priority, especially ham and cheese because they were the least likely to get soggy.

VIDEO: Sian Jacobs from the Nashdale Hall Committee ...

She also asked for bottles of water, ice and slices if people had them available.

No evacuees have reported to Nashdale Hall yet, with families so far staying with friends, so no other supplies are needed at the moment. 

All donations can be brought straight to the hall or call Ms Jacobs on 0428 763 146.

FIRE DOWNGRADED BUT THREAT REMAINS: RFS

SUNDAY, 9AM: The fire which has been blazing on Mt Canobolas overnight has been downgraded from emergency to ‘watch and act’, although firefighters are still battling to contain it.

Fire-bombing aircraft has arrived from Sydney to fight the fire. 

Rural Fire Service (RFS) district officer Lachlan Allan said residents are being asked to remain vigilant.

ABLAZE: A fire at Mr Canobolas overnight continues to burn. Photo: VIATOR INCOGNITUS.

ABLAZE: A fire at Mr Canobolas overnight continues to burn. Photo: VIATOR INCOGNITUS.

“We haven’t been able to directly attack the fire due to the safely conditions on the mountain,” he said.

“The fire has not been contained.”

Mr Allan said firefighters have worked overnight to protect property.

VIDEO: The firefighting effort in full swing ...

“The wind and weather conditions on the mountain has made it unsafe and the priority is the firefighters’ safety”

Mr Allan confirmed three fire trucks from the mid-Lachlan valley were on their way along with a fire and rescue strike team and five trucks.

According to the RFS 298 hectares have been burnt out.