A 51-year-old man is set to appear in court today after allegedly lighting a fire at Ebor, 80 kilometres north-east of Armidale, in a backburning attempt to protect a cannabis crop.
- The Gospers Mountain fire on the outskirts of north-west Sydney has claimed one home
- The Rural Fire Service said 1.5 million hectares had been burnt over this fire season so far
- Cooler conditions will continue over the weekend before riskier weather returns next week
The fire, allegedly lit on Thursday, is still burning out of control on the Northern Tablelands.
The man was arrested on Friday afternoon and charged with intentionally causing a fire.
He will appear in Armidale Local Court today.
At the height of yesterday’s hot and windy weather, four emergency-level fires were declared statewide with three in northern NSW.
The fire closest to Sydney, the Gospers Mountain fire, was downgraded to a watch and act after several hours, with firefighters working on property protection on Sydney’s north-west outskirts.
The Gospers Mountain fire, about 40 kilometres north of Richmond, spread across more than 85,000 hectares and claimed one home yesterday afternoon, at a remote property on Putty Road at Colo Heights.
Four fire bans remain across areas of New South Wales as tamer conditions look to be offering firefighters some respite for at least this weekend.
The bans are in place for the Far North Coast, the Northern Slopes, the New England area and the north-west fire region.
A house has been destroyed by fire, near Colo Heights, north-west of Sydney. (AAP: Dan Himbrechts)
Cooler conditions and a southerly change have allowed firefighters to strengthen containment lines for many of the bushfires burning across the state overnight.
Hot and windy conditions are forecast to return mid next week.
Inspector Ben Shepherd from the New South Wales Rural Fire Service said 1.5 million hectares had been burnt during the season so far.
“We’re really just stuck in this pattern at the moment where we get a couple of days of reprieve from that really hot and dangerous stuff and then we’re back into it again,” he said.
Some 1,500 firefighters will be tackling 61 fires across the state today.
Inspector Shepherd said firefighters were able to undertake some backburning at Gospers Mountain last night.
“People in that area are going to have smoke and fire activity now for a number of days, if not a number of weeks,” he said.
“More than likely we won’t have it under control before the onset of those warmer, windy conditions once again probably towards mid [next] week.”
He said the RFS building impact assessment teams would be investigating the extent of the damage to homes and structures on the fireground.