NSW Bushfire: Woman Charged Over Fire That Destroyed Homes
A woman has been charged with lighting a fire that destroyed homes in northern NSW as residents continue to battle multiple erratic bushfires into the night.
The 40-year-old woman was charged on Wednesday night for allegedly lighting rubbish on fire in a steel drum in her backyard near Tabulam in the state's north on Tuesday morning.
The blaze was allegedly left unattended in the hot weather and amid a total fire ban.
It quickly spread to bushland, incinerated almost 3000 hectares of land and forced the evacuation of the Jubullum Aboriginal area before destroying at least three houses.
It wasn't until Wednesday evening that firefighters managed to reduce the blaze to watch and act level.
The woman was charged with intentionally causing fire and being reckless to its spread during a total fire ban and ordered to appear in Casino Local Court on February 27.
But as fire crews continued to work on the fire, a separate 6000 hectare bushfire at Wallangarra, near Tenterfield, went to emergency levels.
"The fire is large and dangerous," the NSW Rural Fire Service said in a statement on Wednesday.
"Conditions are worsening and the fire is spreading quickly."
Emergency services ordered residents in the firing line to evacuate or seek shelter.
Almost 200km from Tabulam crews were unable to gain a similar victory against a blaze at Tingha which surrounded the tiny town.
The fire, which has burnt more than 12400 hectares, crossed Howell Road and surrounded the township forcing evacuations.
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.
Schuman retreated to his home where 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."
Tingha photographer Brayden Vickery evacuated to his parent's amusement park property, Green Valley Farm.
He hopes to defend it as a southerly change moves through the area, making the fire fronts behave erratically into the night.
"There are three separate heads on the fire and they're coming from different directions," he told AAP while gathering water and connecting hoses.
"One is coming up the creek and we're right in its path."
The property is known locally, Vickery said, "as Disneyland of the bush".
"Our grandparents started it so there's a lot at stake," he said.
Vickery began saying conditions could deteriorate overnight but the fire cut the phone line mid-sentence.
NSW Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant, on Wednesday, announced disaster assistance was available for communities affected by the bushfires.
Some 39 bush and grass fires are active in NSW with 14 yet to be contained.
A weather station in Grafton recorded a top temperature of 43.2C at 3.10pm.
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