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Relief for firefighters as Red Centre winds ease

By Gail Liston and Kristy O'Brien, Thursday January 10, 2013 - 16:07 EDT
ABC image
Parts of the Ross River Resort were badly damaged or destroyed when a wildlife swept in through the camping area. - ABC

The weather bureau says fire fighters in Central Australia are getting some relief as winds ease but conditions could turn dangerous again over the weekend.

But a wildfire has caused more than a million dollars in damage at the Ross River Resort, 80 kilometres east of Alice Springs.

All of the buildings in a camping ground, including the manager's residence, were destroyed when fire swept through the area.

Resort manager, Roman Solczaniuc says the fire was so hot it exploded water tanks and melted structures.

"We had a tin shed there that was solid steel and the whole thing has just buckled, the heat was so intense," he said.

Bushfires NT backburned late yesterday to protect the resort but a wind change accelerated the fire.

Senior Fire Control Officer Geoff Kenna says the Ross Highway remains closed from the Ringwood turn-off until all debris has been removed from the road.

He says extra fire crews are on their way to the resort to stop any further damage to the complex.

He is confident the blaze can be kept within containment lines.

Three fire truck units and extra staff from the Top End are expected to arrive in Alice Springs late this afternoon.

Mr Kenna says they will be able to relieve fatigued crews and the extra vehicles will also be of assistance, with conditions expected to deteriorate this weekend.

Weather bureau forecaster Ben Suter says maximum temperatures in the Red Centre are not going to move below 40C degrees for the remainder of the week but the wind has dropped, creating favourable conditions for setting up fire breaks and containment lines.

But strong north-westerly winds are forecast for the weekend.

Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife officers have issued a warning to people travelling to Watarrka National Park that there is extensive smoke over the road.

The park has been reopened to tourists following its closure and the evacuation of the Kings Canyon Resort, about 300 kilometres south-west of Alice Springs, earlier this week.

Some walking tracks in the area remain closed.

Motorists are advised to slow down and travel with their lights on.


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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