UPDATES: Bemboka bushfire out of control, three buildings lost

Water bombing on the Bemboka Bushfire. Picture: Michael Helmreich
Water bombing on the Bemboka Bushfire. Picture: Michael Helmreich

UPDATE, SUNDAY, 6pm:

Firefighters from the Rural Fire Service and National Parks and Wildlife Service are settling in for another night shift, the 33rd since the Yankees Gap fire first flared up on August 15.

The ongoing firefighting efforts have been assisted by Fire and Rescue Crews as well as multiple aircraft including water-bombing helicopters and on Sunday the RFS air tanker.

An RFS spokesperson said on Sunday afternoon the air tanker had been assisting containment efforts by dropping fire retardant around the edges of the fire that has now burnt out more than 18,000ha.

It’s been to good effect as firefighters “have made good headway today, but there’s still a long way to go”.

The spokesman said the firefront that spread into the Coopers Gully region during Saturday’s very strong winds is “very close to being contained – it’s quite promising there”.

On the western edge of the fire near Yankees Gap, where the blaze first began, Monday will bring further back burning operations. 

“In the most northern parts of the Yankees Gap Rd, there are still active fires in that area,” the spokesman said.

Fire assessment teams were still yet to confirm Saturday night’s reports of three buildings lost in addition to the three homes burnt down four weeks ago.

Sunday morning, Rachel Helmreich

Sunday morning, Rachel Helmreich

UPDATE, SUNDAY, 5.30pm:

The Yankees Gap bushfire near Bemboka remains out of control but is not an immediate threat to property.

The fire that first flared up beginning on August 15 has now burnt approximately 17,814ha in the South East Forest National Park and the Numbugga area.

Fire activity increased Saturday afternoon under strong north westerly winds across the fireground particularly between Bemboka and Coopers Gully. This saw a number of spot fires cross control lines and the fire cut the Snowy Mountains Highway.

Sunday, 5.30pm screengrab

Sunday, 5.30pm screengrab

Winds have eased across the fireground and a cool south westerly change has seen temperatures drop this morning, with easing conditions overnight.

There are no immediate threats to properties, however firefighters will remain on scene today to provide property protection if needed.

The fire is producing a large amount of smoke that is affecting the Bega Valley.

As of 1pm Sunday, the Snowy Mountains Highway reopened to traffic and motorists are advised to take care while driving.

Advice

If you are in the areas of Yankees Gap, Coopers Gully, Numbugga or Brogo you should continue to monitor conditions.

Take advice from firefighters in the area..

Other Information

If your life is at risk, call Triple Zero (000) immediately.

Continue to stay up to date with the bush fire situation by checking http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au, listening to your local radio station or by calling the NSW RFS Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737.

For information on road closures, check http://livetraffic.rta.nsw.gov.au. Roads may be closed without warning.

Saturday evening falls on Bemboka. Picture: Rachel Helmreich

Saturday evening falls on Bemboka. Picture: Rachel Helmreich

SATURDAY

UPDATE, 8.30pm:

There are reports of three buildings lost in today's flare up of the Yankees Gap bushfire.

Rural Fire Service Far South Coast's Marty Webster said they had had reports from teams on the fireground of three buildings damaged by the fire burning out of control in the Bemboka, Numbugga region.

There were no further details available at this stage of whether they were homes or farm buildings.

However building impact assessment teams will be on site first thing Sunday.

UPDATE 7pm:

The Yankees Gap fire has been downgraded to Watch and Act alert level but remains out of control.

The fire has been burning for a month in the South East Forest National Park and the Numbugga area.

Fire activity increased under strong north westerly winds across the fireground particularly between Bemboka and Coopers Gully. This saw a number of spot fires cross control lines and the fire cut the Snowy Mountains Highway.

Winds have eased across the fireground and the temperatures are beginning to fall.

Firefighters remain on scene to protect isolated rural properties.

The fire is producing a large amount of smoke that is affecting the Bega Valley.

The Snowy Mountains Highway is now closed in both directions between Princes Highway and Mogilla Road. It is expected to remain closed overnight.

Advice

If you are in the areas of Yankees Gap, Coopers Gully, Numbugga or Brogo you should put your Bush Fire Survival Plan into action.

If you do not have a Bush Fire Survival Plan, know what you will do if the fire threatens your property.

Well prepared and actively defended homes can offer safety during the fire.

Continue to monitor the conditions closely and follow the advice of firefighters.

UPDATE, 6.20pm.

The latest from the RFS is that the fire remains out of control, with several new fire fronts and burnt areas showing up on the Fires Near Me app now.

Screen grab of Fires Near Me 6.15pm

Screen grab of Fires Near Me 6.15pm

The fire has been burning for a month in the South East Forest National Park and the Numbugga area.

Fire activity increased Saturday afternoon across the fireground, particularly between Bemboka to Coopers Gully.

The fire is burning under very strong winds. Embers are being blown ahead of the fire, creating spot fires.

A strong south-westerly change has recently crossed the fireground and conditions are slightly easing with cooler temperatures.

Firefighters remain on scene to protect isolated rural properties.

The fire is producing a large amount of smoke that is affecting the Bega Valley.

The Snowy Mountains Highway is closed in both directions between Princes Highway and Mogilla Road.

Bemboka Bushfire as seen from Toni Ward's Kameruka property, September 15

Bemboka Bushfire as seen from Toni Ward's Kameruka property, September 15

Advice

If you are in the area you need to take action now.

If you are in the areas of Coopers Gully, Numbugga or Brogo you should TAKE SHELTER as the fire approaches. Take shelter in a solid structure and protect yourself from the heat of the fire.

If you are in the area around Yankees Gap and your plan is to leave, you should leave towards Bemboka if the path is clear.

If you are near Bega you should put your bush fire survival plan into action now. Continue to monitor for embers.

Continue to monitor the conditions closely and follow the advice of firefighters.

Other Information

If your life is at risk, call Triple Zero (000) immediately.

Continue to stay up to date with the bush fire situation by checking http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au, listening to your local radio station or by calling the NSW RFS Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737.

For information on road closures, check http://livetraffic.rta.nsw.gov.au. Roads may be closed without warning.

UPDATE, 5.15pm:

A section of the Snowy Mountains Hwy has been reopened, with Mogilla Rd now able to be used as an alternative route.

The highway is closed from the Princes Hwy intersection to Mogilla Rd just east of Bemboka.

Motorists should exercise caution, allow extra travel time and follow all directions of emergency services and traffic crews.

UPDATE, 5pm:

The Yankees Gap bushfire near Bemboka remains at an Emergency Warning alert level and is out of control.

It has now burnt out 15,499ha since flaring up on August 15 in the South East Forest National Park and the Numbugga area.

Fire activity has increased along the southern edge of the fire from Bemboka to Coopers Gully.

The fire is burning under very strong winds. Embers are being blown ahead of the fire, creating spot fires towards the Snowy Mountains Highway and Bega.

Fires Near Me screen grab at 5pm Saturday, September 15

Fires Near Me screen grab at 5pm Saturday, September 15

Firefighters are on scene to protect isolated rural properties.

The fire is producing a large amount of smoke that is affecting the Bega Valley.

The Snowy Mountains Highway is now closed in both directions between Princes Highway and Monaro Highway.

Advice

If you are in the area you need to take action now.

If you are in the area of Coopers Gully and Numbugga, you should TAKE SHELTER NOW. It is too late to leave. Take shelter in a solid structure and protect yourself from the heat of the fire.

If you are in the areas around Yankees Gap and your plan is to leave, you should LEAVE NOW towards Bemboka if the path is clear.

If you are near Bega you should put your bush fire survival plan into action now. Continue to monitor for embers.

Continue to monitor the conditions closely and follow the advice of firefighters.

Other Information

If your life is at risk, call Triple Zero (000) immediately.

Continue to stay up to date with the bush fire situation by checking http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au, listening to your local radio station or by calling the NSW RFS Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737.

For information on road closures, check http://livetraffic.rta.nsw.gov.au. Roads may be closed without warning.

The next update on this fire will be issued by 15/09/2018 17:30 or if the situation changes.

UPDATE, 3.45pm:

Bega residents are being urged to remain aware of the situation at Bemboka and prepare their properties as a bushfire burns out of control.

As at 3.40pm, RFS Far South Coast's Marty Webster said the Snowy Mountain Highway is being closed from Brown Mountain to the Princes Hwy.

There were reports from some residents on social media that the fire had jumped the road at Walls Flat in strong westerly winds.

Bega residents should expect heavy smoke and possible burnt material. Mr Webster said the RFS has no immediate concerns for the township of Bega, but recommended residents move any combustible materials away from their homes and keep abreast of the emergency situation.

In the Coopers Gully area, residents are being told to shelter in place as it is too late to leave.

"The opportunity to leave safely may be an option for some but our recommendation is to seek shelter in place,” Mr Webster said.

UPDATE, 3.20pm:

The Yankees Gap bushfire has now been elevated to Emergency Warning.

Weatherzone reports gusts of up to 96kmh have swept across the Bega district on Saturday, re-strengthening the Yankees Gap bushfire at Bemboka.

It's one of two Watch and Act out of control fires in the region, with Jonas St at Bombala also highlighted on the Rural Fire Service Fires Near Me app.

If you are in the area you need to take action now.

If you are in the area of Coopers Gully and Numbugga, you should TAKE SHELTER NOW. It is too late to leave. Take shelter in a solid structure and protect yourself from the heat of the fire.

If you are in the areas around Yankees Gap and your plan is to leave, you should LEAVE NOW towards Bemboka if the path is clear.

If you are near Bega you should put your bush fire survival plan into action now. Continue to monitor for embers.

Continue to monitor the conditions closely and follow the advice of firefighters.

If your life is at risk, call Triple Zero (000) immediately.

EARLIER:

Under high winds the Bemboka bushfire has become out of control and the situation has been elevated to a watch and act alert level.

The Rural Fire Service posted at 2.22pm that the bushfire that began burning near Yankees Gap Rd 30 days ago is currently over 15498 hectares in size and is again out of control.

Current Situation

The fire has been burning for several weeks in the South East Forest National Park and the Numbugga area.

Fire activity has increased along the outhern edge of the fire from Bemboka to Coopers Gully north of the Snowy Mountains Highway.

The fire is burning under very strong winds. Under these conditions, fires can be difficult to control. Embers may be blown ahead of the fire, creating spot fires. These spot fires may threaten your home earlier than the predicted main fire front.

Firefighters are on scene to protect isolated rural properties.

The fire is producing a large amount of smoke that is affecting the Bega Valley.

Advice

Check and follow your Bush Fire Survival Plan. If you do not have a plan, decide what you will do if the situation changes. Leaving early is your safest option.

Continue to monitor the conditions and follow the advice of firefighters.

Other Information

If your life is at risk, call Triple Zero (000) immediately.

Continue to stay up to date with the bush fire situation by checking http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au, listening to your local radio station or by calling the NSW RFS Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737.

For information on road closures, check http://livetraffic.rta.nsw.gov.au. Roads may be closed without warning.

The next update on this fire will be issued by 15/09/2018 16:00 or if the situation changes.

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This story UPDATES: Bemboka bushfire out of control, three buildings lost first appeared on Bega District News.

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