Firefighters hose down a line of houses in Angourie as fire embers shower down from an encroaching fire front on the night of Monday, 9th September, 2019.
Firefighters hose down a line of houses in Angourie as fire embers shower down from an encroaching fire front on the night of Monday, 9th September, 2019. NSW RFS

Fire crews save Angourie from ember shower

FOOTAGE of firefighters hosing down a line of houses on the southern edge of Angourie as embers showered down upon them symbolised the heroism of these men and women.

People owe their livelihoods to those who have put themselves directly in the line of fire. They are the difference between whole neighbourhoods standing or smouldering.

History tells us sometimes not even they can withstand the ferocity of some fires. But from this footage it was clear houses would have been lost if not for the intervention of local fire crews on Monday night.

Geographically, this is a particularly precarious fire. As if on cue, the westerly winds fanning the fire from its origin at Shark Creek toward the coast switched to southerly just in time to turn the fire north along the ithmus towards Wooloweyah and Angourie, and beyond those townships, Yamba.

 

A satellite image of the fire burning towards Angourie and Wooloweyah.
A satellite image of the fire burning towards Angourie and Wooloweyah. Yamba 510 Fire and Rescue

Incredibly, however, there has been no reported property damage from this fire so far.

"There were some embers attacking Angourie last night and today at Wooloweyah and fireys have done an amazing job to protect properties in those areas," Clarence Valley Rural Fire Service incident controller Viki Campbell said yesterday.

NSW RFS has contained the blaze using firefighters, heavy plant and aircraft including the 737 large air tanker.

 

Late Tuesday the fire was downgraded from 'Watch and Act' to 'Advice'. But Ms Campbell said there was still a considerable risk, especially with strong southerly winds expected to continue.

"We had a spot fire north of Wooloweyah and Angourie yesterday and crews have done an extensive job containing the fire before it reaches Yamba," she said.

"However we are still monitoring that containment particularly with the strong southerly winds in that area.

"Crews will remain on scene at the northern containment line and in the townships of Wooloweyah and Angourie to continue to monitor any spotting activity over containments."

While a risk still exists, it could almost be regarded a blessing in disguise for these communities that the fire hit in September, and not in a few months' time, especially if we don't receive any rain.

We could be in for a catastrophic summer... and those places that have already burned will be the ones spared.



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