'Kings Highway closed for a month': Transport minister, Eurobodalla mayor

1.09pm: NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance, Eurobodalla Shire Council mayor and acting general manager warn the Kings Highway will be closed for at least a month as firefighters battle to contain the Currowan blaze. Speaking in Moruya on Friday, December 27, Mr Constance, mayor Liz Innes and acting general manager Warren Sharpe said fire continued to burn on the Kings Highway and conditions were increasingly dangerous for firefighters and forestry crews. The Currowan blaze has crossed the Kings Highway at several points and continues to burn north and south of the highway.

A section near the top of the mountain threatens to entrap crews trying to remove dangerous trees and fight the fire and has been deemed unsafe for workers. More details as they come to hand.

8.49am: Holiday makers and other motorists faced significant delays after bushfire flareups and backburning operations forced emergency services to close a section of Princes Highway near Sussex Inlet several times on Boxing Day. On Friday morning, the Princes Highway was reopened from Jerrawangala to Conjola following backburning but motorists are advised to exercise caution and expect delays.

The following road closures remain in place: The closures have added to the frustration for travellers from Canberra and other inland areas who have been forced by the closure of Kings Highway to use the Princes Highway as part of a huge detour to get to Batemans Bay and other parts of the South Coast. The traffic disruptions were caused as Rural Fire Service crews worked to contain the massive Currowan fire, which has burnt through more than 206,000 hectares in an area stretching from Batemans Bay in the south to close to Nowra in the north. Read more: Currowan fire could jump Shoalhaven River in coming days, RFS warns During Boxing Day the RFS upgraded the status of the blaze as fire activity picked up.

But conditions eased later in the day and the warning was lowered from 'watch and act' to 'advice'. Emergency services nonetheless warned of the risk that the Currowan fire could jump the Shoalhaven River. Residents in the area of the fire have been warned to monitor conditions and watch out for embers and spot fires.

RFS spokesman Inspector Ben Shepherd said the fire continued to grow and was not yet under control, though the favourable weather conditions meant crews could work on establishing and strengthening containment lines, including by backburning. He warned motorists that Princes Highway was likely to be closed intermittently throughout Boxing Day as firefighters worked "to try and hold that fire west of the highway". Read more: New bushfire starts west of Mogo on South Coast While crews used Boxing Day to try and contain the Currowan fire, seven RFS tankers and three aircraft were scrambled to Deua River Valley inland from Moruya after a blaze broke out in the early afternoon.

Inspector Shepherd said the fire was in steep terrain in the Wandera State Forest and Monga National Park that was difficult for ground crews to access. The blaze was out of control as of late on Boxing Day, though Inspector Shepherd said it was yet to threaten property. By late in the day its status had been downgraded to advice.

The crews deployed to Deua River Valley were among 1900 RFS firefighters and support staff on duty across New South Wales yesterday battling more than 80 fires. Inspector Shepherd said crews were backburning and working to establish and strengthen firebreaks as part of efforts to contain 30 blazes still listed as out of control. Lending urgency to the work is an expected deterioration in weather conditions on Friday and through the weekend as a heat wave is forecast to sweep the state, sending temperatures in many areas into the mid to high 30s. "We will start to see areas of very high fire danger from Saturday, and those conditions will continue to deteriorate early next week," Inspector Shepherd said.

He said a combination of high temperatures, low humidity and strong winds would make it very difficult for firefighters. All national parks in the area have been closed and communities along the coast have been advised to monitor the situation and be ready to act if conditions change. On the South Coast: South West of Sydney: In the Lower Hunter: In the Blue Mountains and Central West: In the state's North: This story Princes Highway reopens after backburning on South Coast first appeared on The Canberra Times.

1.09pm: NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance, Eurobodalla Shire Council mayor and acting general manager warn the Kings Highway will be closed for at least a month as firefighters battle to contain the Currowan blaze.

Speaking in Moruya on Friday, December 27, Mr Constance, mayor Liz Innes and acting general manager Warren Sharpe said fire continued to burn on the Kings Highway and conditions were increasingly dangerous for firefighters and forestry crews. The Currowan blaze has crossed the Kings Highway at several points and continues to burn north and south of the highway. A section near the top of the mountain threatens to entrap crews trying to remove dangerous trees and fight the fire and has been deemed unsafe for workers.

More details as they come to hand. 8.49am: Holiday makers and other motorists faced significant delays after bushfire flareups and backburning operations forced emergency services to close a section of Princes Highway near Sussex Inlet several times on Boxing Day.
On Friday morning, the Princes Highway was reopened from Jerrawangala to Conjola following backburning but motorists are advised to exercise caution and expect delays.

The following road closures remain in place:

  • Braidwood Road and Nerriga Road from Nowra Hill to Charleyong,
  • Kings Highway from Braidwood to Nelligen and
  • Araluen Road from Moruya to Braidwood.

The closures have added to the frustration for travellers from Canberra and other inland areas who have been forced by the closure of Kings Highway to use the Princes Highway as part of a huge detour to get to Batemans Bay and other parts of the South Coast.
During Boxing Day the RFS upgraded the status of the blaze as fire activity picked up. But conditions eased later in the day and the warning was lowered from 'watch and act' to 'advice'.

Emergency services nonetheless warned of the risk that the Currowan fire could jump the Shoalhaven River.
Residents in the area of the fire have been warned to monitor conditions and watch out for embers and spot fires. RFS spokesman Inspector Ben Shepherd said the fire continued to grow and was not yet under control, though the favourable weather conditions meant crews could work on establishing and strengthening containment lines, including by backburning.

He warned motorists that Princes Highway was likely to be closed intermittently throughout Boxing Day as firefighters worked "to try and hold that fire west of the highway". While crews used Boxing Day to try and contain the Currowan fire, seven RFS tankers and three aircraft were scrambled to Deua River Valley inland from Moruya after a blaze broke out in the early afternoon.
Inspector Shepherd said the fire was in steep terrain in the Wandera State Forest and Monga National Park that was difficult for ground crews to access.

The blaze was out of control as of late on Boxing Day, though Inspector Shepherd said it was yet to threaten property. By late in the day its status had been downgraded to advice. The crews deployed to Deua River Valley were among 1900 RFS firefighters and support staff on duty across New South Wales yesterday battling more than 80 fires.

Inspector Shepherd said crews were backburning and working to establish and strengthen firebreaks as part of efforts to contain 30 blazes still listed as out of control.
Lending urgency to the work is an expected deterioration in weather conditions on Friday and through the weekend as a heat wave is forecast to sweep the state, sending temperatures in many areas into the mid to high 30s.
"We will start to see areas of very high fire danger from Saturday, and those conditions will continue to deteriorate early next week," Inspector Shepherd said.

He said a combination of high temperatures, low humidity and strong winds would make it very difficult for firefighters.

All national parks in the area have been closed and communities along the coast have been advised to monitor the situation and be ready to act if conditions change.

Full list of road closures across the state

On the South Coast:

  • Braidwood to Nelligen: the Kings Highway is closed
  • Braidwood to Moruya: Araluen Road is closed
  • Nowra Hill to Charleyong: Nerriga Road/Braidwood Road is closed
  • Jerrawangala to Tomerong: Turpentine Road is closed

South West of Sydney:

  • Hill Top to Couridjah: Wilson Drive/West Parade is closed
  • High Range to Taralga: Wombeyan Caves Road is closed

In the Lower Hunter:

  • Colo Heights to Milbrodale: Putty Road is closed
  • Bucketty to Broke: Great Northern Road/Paynes Crossing Road/Wollombi Road is closed
  • Bucketty to St Albans: Wollombi Road/Great Northern Road is closed
  • Wollombi to Laguna: Yango Creek Road is closed
  • Paynes Crossing: Stockyard Creek Road is closed
  • Bucketty to Kulnura: George Downes Drive is closed.

In the Blue Mountains and Central West:

  • Oaky Park (east of Lithgow): Bells Road is closed
  • Hampton to Oberon: Jenolan Caves Road is closed
  • Bell to Mount Victoria: Darling Causeway is closed
  • Mount Victoria: Mount York Road is closed
  • Hartley Vale: Fields Road is closed
  • Blackheath: Govetts Leap Road is closed

In the state's North:

  • Tabulam to Lower Duck Creek: Hootens Road and Paddys Flat Road are closed
This story 'Kings Highway closed for a month': Transport minister, Eurobodalla mayor first appeared on South Coast Register.

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