1600 MCGs burnt in horror week of bushfires


ONE of the Territory's busiest weeks for firefighters ended with just two structures lost - a demountable in Rum Jungle and a building at Lake Bennett.

More than 10,000ha of land is burning across the Top End - equivalent in size to 1600 MCGs, 10 times the area of Darwin International Airport or twice the size of the Palmerston council area.

That includes one fire on the Tipperary Station, which firefighters were watching, that had burnt through a distance of 100km from east to west since starting last week.

Bushfires NT Incident Operations manager Joshua Fischer said the Tipperary Station fire was close to breaching the Litchfield National Park boundary but it wasn't threatening any tourist spots.


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"Tipperary Station staff are working to contain that fire, however the very south boundary of Litchfield National Park is at risk, which park rangers are currently monitoring," he said.

"There is no risk to any tourist facilities; it's quite a long way from the southern boundary. We are also still monitoring the fire on Dorat Road and the fire on Fowler in the Batchelor region, and there are a number of fires burning in the Savannah region to which our Katherine team are monitoring with land owners."

Mr Fischer said while more than 10,000ha had been burnt, sometimes it was the smallest fires that had the biggest impact.


Police block the road as a dangerous fire threatened homes in the Litchfield/Batchelor Area Picture GLENN CAMPBELL
Police block the road as a dangerous fire threatened homes in the Litchfield/Batchelor Area Picture GLENN CAMPBELL


"It's quite a significant size when we talk about rural dwellings … we've got to understand the Northern Territory is quite a vast space so large fires are not uncommon, particularly in the remote areas," he said.

"But sometimes our smallest fires could have the most detrimental impact to life and property."

But just because one week has ended, it did not mean the work had stopped.

"We're expecting some increased dryness and wind strength tomorrow which may result in fire weather warnings and fire bans," Mr Fischer said.

"We are preparing for a potential next surge of fire weather to impact the Top End … so we will obviously be maintaining this heightened level of operation preparedness at this time."

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Angeline Prasad said firefighters would welcome wetter conditions over the coming days.

"It'll be a little bit moist in the Top End and to the east of Darwin but over Batchelor we might be a little dry," Ms Prasad said.

"It is going to be marginal fire weather tomorrow; we're expecting severe fire dangers for Batchelor and around Batchelor for tomorrow."

Ms Prasad said hazardous fire conditions were not likely to return again until the weekend.

Darwin will not be subjected to a fire warning, however the greater Darwin area could have alerts issued, and parts of Batchelor and Adelaide River would face restrictions.

Rain relief is not likely for at least a couple of weeks but there is a slim chance Darwin will have its first shower in the coming days.

"We may see some showers around Gunn Point or Koolpinyah," Ms Prasad said.

"We only have a 20 per cent (chance) but that includes Darwin city."

Originally published as 1600 MCGs burnt in horror week of bushfires