The need for grey nomads to stay alert to the danger of bushfires has once again been put in the spotlight by the huge blaze currently burning near Tennant Creek.
The ABC reports that the fire, which started last week and has burnt around 10,000 square kilometres of land, has jumped containment lines to the north and south of the Northern Territory town.
However, authorities say the fire located east of the town on the other side of the Gosse River, still it remains some distance from the town.
On Tuesday, NT Acting Chief Minister Nicole Manison declared an emergency situation for the entire Barkly Government area, and said any unnecessary travel to the region should be delayed for at least 48 hours.
The ABC reports that fire crews had worked to establish containment lines along the river and south of the remote township to try to slow the fire’s spread.
However, speaking to the ABC’s Country Hour program yesterday afternoon, Bushfires NT chief fire controller Tony Fuller said containment lines had been breached to the north of Tennant Creek, and then also on the southern end.
“Unfortunately, it’s such a big area and we can’t be everywhere,” he said. “The crews, despite some aerial bombing and some work by some loaders, they couldn’t get around it before it took off.”
Mr Fuller said the bushfire was ‘still 30 or 40 kilometres away from Tennant Creek itself’, and said strategies were in place to try to slow it down.
“The township itself should be fairly right,” he told the ABC. “But obviously this fire is going to cause us a lot more grief for a few more days and we’ll just be combating it as best we can.”
Speaking to reporters, Mr Fuller said he was not aware of any evacuation plans for Tennant Creek, though several pastoral stations remained under threat.
“We’ve had continual air support on this fire and so if we have a spot-over we’re pretty quick to react with bombers,” he said. “But the continuous fuel is something that’s really, really hard to fight.”
Shenagh Gamble from the Bureau of Meteorology NT told the ABC the current wind conditions would not be favouring firefighting efforts.
“When we get these strong, south-easterly surges across the Northern Territory, it really brings quite windy and dry weather, combined with heat,” she said. “That will really make any fire that’s in the landscape flare up.”
The Northern Territory is currently experiencing multiple fires, including the large fire burning in the Barkly Region, covering an area of approximately 400,000 hectares in size, or three times the size of the ACT, according to NT emergency services.