Bushfire at Manly’s North Head contained after backburning, rain: RFS


The fire was “more or less contained” in the early hours of Sunday morning, with backburning able to link the fire to areas burned in hazard reduction several weeks ago. Mr Shepherd said there currently is “minimal fire activity” in the area, which has received some light rain.

Half a dozen crews from National Parks and Wildlife will continue to patrol the area to extinguish hotspots and survey the damage caused to walking trails.

No property damage or injuries have been reported as a result of the fire, which had about 100 firefighters tasked at its height as well as waterbombing helicopters.

Mr Shepherd said the “significant amount of fire activity” seen from the city and Manly last night was from the burns being put in to fight the fire.

The Manly blaze is the second time in a week that a hazard reduction burn has turned into a bushfire after it broke containment lines.

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Last Saturday, dozens of firefighters and a water-bombing plane were deployed to the Royal National Park at Waterfall, in Sydney’s south, when a spot fire from hazard reduction got out of control.

Mr Shepherd said hazard reduction does have risks, which “obviously we do try to mitigate”, but a feature of the Australian landscape is that burning produces embers which have the ability to go past containment lines.

“Even when the weather may be in our favour [there is a risk],” Mr Shepherd said.

He said more than a dozen other hazard reduction burns were successfully completed on Saturday, which will help to protect homes and lives as warmer weather approaches.

Mr Shepherd said people have been asking why the burns were being done now and not in winter.

He said 60 per cent of hazard reduction burns are usually done in autumn, but this year’s autumn and winter were hotter than usual so “fire agencies just didn’t have those opportunities”.

This means the Rural Fire Service is at “30 per cent of where we’d like to be”.

Mr Shepherd said the fire is a timely reminder for homeowners to prepare their properties and prepare their bushfire survival plans.

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