16 Jan 2013

Coonabarabran lines being strengthened

7:04 am on 16 January 2013

Firefighters are working to strengthen containment lines at a major bushfire in north-west New South Wales.

The fire in the Warrumbungle National Park has already destroyed at least 40 houses and burned 42,000 hectares west of Coonabarabran.

Extra resources have been brought in by the Rural Fire Service to help tackle the uncontrolled blaze and build containment lines around the perimeter, which extends 100km.

The fire is one of 122 still burning across the state, 29 of which are out of control.

The ABC reports about 100 firefighters took advantage of cooler conditions on Tuesday night to put in more containment lines ahead of hot north-westerly winds forecast for Friday. Another 200 will continue this work on Wednesday.

NSW RFS Inspector Brett Lachlan said there were small flare-ups on Tuesday afternoon, but the fire front had not grown significantly.

A tent city to house the firefighters has been set at a base camp at the Coonabarabran race course.

Meanwhile, the RFS hopes to have another bushfire burning north of Coonabarabran contained on Wednesday.

The blaze has burned almost 650 hectares and has closed the Newell Highway between Coonabarabran and Narrabri.

The RFS said the fire is not moving very fast and crews will use on Wednesday to build containment lines and carry out back-burning if possible.

The ABC reports firefighters have also worked to ensure a bushfire near Murrumbateman, north of Canberra, remains within containment lines.