Fire burnt Copeland Tops

Photo on the left is taken near Bowman Cottage and the photo on the right is from the Cobark side of Copeland Tops. Photo Stuart Redman
Photo on the left is taken near Bowman Cottage and the photo on the right is from the Cobark side of Copeland Tops. Photo Stuart Redman

A fire started on a private property in the Bowman River Road area on February 11 was “challenging” to control.

National Parks and Wildlife Service (NWFS) and the Rural Fire Services (RFS) have been jointly fighting the fire that burnt more than 630 hectares across Copeland Tops State Conservation Area and private property.

NPWS firefighters from Gosford, Newcastle, Taree and Forster and RFS crews from the Great Lakes area have assisted the local crews.

NPWS area manager Barrington Tops Anthony Signor said the fire has been challenging due to the extended very dry conditions and a lack of water in the region.

He explained that at the fire’s peak there were five RFS and eight NPWS brigades.

“Heavy plant (a bulldozer) was contracted to construct and/or enhance containment lines.”

Gloucester’s NPWS rangers Peter Beard and Sean Thompson have been working as incident controllers.

“Amongst other things, they are highly skilled, professionally trained fire fighters with many years of experience,” Mr Signor said.

“Gloucester’s senior field officer Chris Wilson did an outstanding job as divisional commander on the fire ground.”

“NPWS is grateful for the efforts of RFS volunteer brigades and greatly appreciates the positive working relationships we have established with RFS and its volunteers,” Mr Signor said.

The recent rain has helped the fire fighting effort, with the fire downgraded as under control and it was monitored by NPWS crews until it was declared out.

NPWS crews continue to fight the Middle Ridge fire in the Stewarts Brook area of Barrington Tops National Park.

“This remote and complex fire is also challenging due to very steep terrain limiting containment line options,” Mr Signor explained.

“This is also a joint effort between NPWS and the RFS.

“Ground crews are attacking this fire by direct containment with air support by helicopter and fixed wing aircraft,” he said.