Crews battle major bush fire in Australia

Jan. 15, 2013 at 8:30 AM   |   Comments

SYDNEY, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Bad weather forecast for later this week prompted Australian firefighters to work to strengthen containment lines for a major bush fire in New South Wales.

A total of 122 fires are burning across the state with 29 of them listed as out of control, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

The Rural Fire Service has issued a watch-and-act alert for a fire in Warrumbungle National Park that has destroyed at least 40 homes and burned through nearly 99,000 acres west of Connabarabran.

North of Connabarabran, a bush fire has burned through some 1,600 acres and forced the closing of the Newell Highway between Connabarabran and Narrabri.

Eighty crews and 20 aircraft have been dropping water and fire retardant on a blaze burning near the village of Bugaldie.

Another bush fire reported near Murrumbateman, north of Canberra, remained within containment lines. Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service said bad weather is expected Friday.

"We need to be focused on the fact that there is more deteriorating weather coming and we need to be prepared for the very real potential this fire will still be uncontained and get up and running again under those weather conditions on Friday," he said.

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