19 Jan 2014

Fight against bushfires continues

9:59 pm on 19 January 2014

Firefighters in New South Wales are preparing for a long night on a number of fire fronts, with more than 90 blazes raging in the state.

An emergency warning is in place for the Hells Hole fire near Bathurst.

An intense blaze at Minnimbah near Wagga Wagga has been downgraded to watch and act status after destroying at least three homes and forcing evacuations in the village of Carabost.

That fire, burning in the Murraguldrie State Forest, has been burning out of control in pine and native forest since yesterday afternoon.

The ABC reports it has had flames as high as 40 metres, and earlier destroyed five homes around the intersection of the Tumbarumba and Billabong Roads.

Rural Fire Service deputy commissioner Rob Rogers says he is alarmed by the number of fires which are breaking out.

"Obviously we're concerned about new fires again that would have come from lightning," he said.

"The number of fires that we're trying to deal with is just going up alarmingly."

Victoria and South Australia

Firefighters in Victoria and South Australia have gained the upper hand on most of the bushfires burning out of control.

A plane dropping fire retardant material over bushfires in the Grampians in Victoria.

A plane dropping fire retardant material over bushfires in the Grampians in Victoria. Photo: AFP / COUNTRY FIRE AUTHORITY

South Australia's Country Fire Service (CFS) says at least 15 houses have been lost in blazes across the state this weekend, and it may take some days before the total damage is known.

The ABC reports there are 11 fires still burning out of control across the state, but the CFS is most concerned about fires in the Barossa Valley near Truro and one near Bangor in the Flinders Rages.

The Bangor fire is still burning out of control between Melrose and Wirrabarra on Sunday and has burnt almost 20,000 hectares there.

The Eden Valley fire, east of Angaston, is still going and has moved to within three kilometres of Truro.

The tourist town of Halls Gap in Victoria's west is reopening to the public on Sunday, as crews continue to work on a large bushfire burning out of control in the northern Grampians.

The blaze has burnt through more than 50,000 hectares, killed thousands of sheep and destroyed about 10 homes.

The CFA says the main threat to Halls Gap and Grampians Junction has now passed, and residents are returning their properties to assess the damage and reopen local businesses to tourists.