Close call as Long Point fire threatens homes

THE Long Point fire north of Orange came within 500 metres of a home yesterday.

Firefighters have struggled to control the blaze that has ripped through inaccessible terrain since it started on New Year’s Day.

The fire has scorched 284 hectares, with crews and equipment brought in from across NSW.

NSW Rural Fire Services Canobolas Zone manager David Hoadley said the fire was being pushed away from the nearby house in a north-easterly direction late yesterday afternoon.

Fire crews remain on the scene of a fire at Long Point near Orange. Video: NSW Rural Fire Service.

He said they were planning to put in a backburn overnight on the fire’s southern border.

“The conditions are nearly ideal for us right now [but] there’s likely to be more smoke,” he said.

“Tomorrow morning [Thursday] we should know whether we have been successful.”

The fire has put a strain on resources with crews working around the clock since the blaze broke out.

“Crews change every 12 hours, people are starting to get a big tired and some brigades have had crews there the whole time,” Mr Hoadley said.

Since the fire began it has increased in size dramatically, and Mr Hoadley expects it to spread up to 450 hectares before it is contained.

He said more favourable conditions for fire crews are predicted for today and hopes it will allow them to have a containment line around the fire by tonight.

Firefighters believe the blaze started when a man illegally let off fireworks at a campsite in the area.

Fire investigators arrived on the scene Tuesday afternoon and are in consultation with police about possible charges against a man.

Canobolas Local Area Command Inspector Bruce Grassick said police were preparing to talk to a person of interest.

 “[We] intend to speak to a man in relation to the fire at Long Point however that man is in hospital and will be interviewed on release,” he said.

A high fire danger has been predicted for today and Mr Hoadley has advised the community to be vigilant when lighting fires.

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