Fire ‘destroys homes’, woman charged
A woman has been charged in relation to a fire at Tabulam in northern NSW, which continues to burn and has already destroyed several homes.
Police will allege about 8am on Tuesday the 40-year-old woman set fire to rubbish located in a large steel container in her backyard.
The fire was then left unattended and proceeded to spread to bushland behind her home.
When the woman discovered the fire had spread, she rang 000 and unsuccessfully attempted to extinguish the flames with a backyard hose.
The woman has been charged with intentionally cause fire and be reckless to its spread and set fire during total fire ban.
She is due to appear before Casino Local Court on 27 February 2019.
The fast-moving bushfire which has reportedly destroyed homes has surrounded the township of Tingha in northern NSW.
While on Wednesday evening the Rural Fire Service said a fire close to Tenterfield, some 130km north on the Queensland border, "was worsening" and becoming "large and dangerous".
In Tingha, one resident watched flames leaping toward the town before the bushfire overran a wrecking yard, igniting leftover fuel in rusting cars.
"The fire is spreading quickly under strong and gusty winds," the NSW RFS said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon.
"The fire is spreading in multiple directions and there is an immediate threat to lives and properties. There are reports of properties being damaged or destroyed." Inverell council tweeted that Tingha was being evacuated due to bushfire threat with residents being transported by bus to Guyra Showground. The fire, which has already burnt more than 12400 hectares, crossed Howell Road and has surrounded the township.
Lifelong resident Paul Schuman was at an intersection on the road when the flames surged towards him.
"I said, 'We gotta go; they're leaping, creating their own wind'," he told AAP on Wednesday.
Mr Schuman retreated to his home to hose down embers landing on nearby lawns. Then he heard explosions in the distance.
"There's a wrecking yard up the road with a bunch of cars and we heard some fuel in the tanks or something going off," he said.
"A few hundred of them. Bang, bang, bang." Other residents had earlier described an eerie atmosphere in the town. Local Jacinta Marsh, who works at Tingha Royal Hotel, said the situation was foreboding.
"It's a very eerie feeling outside with all the smoke around," she told AAP. An evacuation centre has been set up at Bundarra School of Arts. A southerly change will make the fire act more erratically into Wednesday night, the RFS warned.
On Wednesday evening, the RFS issued a fresh warming for the Wallangarra blaze.
"Conditions are worsening. This fire is large and dangerous. If you are in the area between Mount Lindesay Rd and Bruxner Highway, you are in danger. Leave now if the path is clear towards Tenterfield," the service said in a tweet.
Watch and act alerts have been issued for bushfires on the NSW-Queensland border at Jennings and Warrabah, north of Tamworth, both of which flared up on Wednesday afternoon.
The RFS warned isolated properties could also be threatened by both fires. Some 42 bush and grass fires are active in NSW with seven yet to be contained. A weather station in Grafton, in the state's Northern Rivers region, recorded a top temperature of 43.2C at 3.10pm.
Another emergency warning has been issued for a blaze near Tabulam, west of Casino, where strong winds pushed the fire across the Timbarra River. It forced the evacuation of the Jubullum Aboriginal area on Tuesday and has already destroyed at least three houses along with other buildings and vehicles. The bushfire has burnt through some 2800 hectares.
The Bureau of Meteorology expects a cold front will bring wind changes late Wednesday and early Thursday.
Police are reminding the public that NSW remains the subject of a total state-wide fire ban. If you see any unattended fires please report them quickly to Triple Zero (000).