Firefighters continue to battle Canberra blaze, ‘damaging’ 87km/h wind gusts expected


  • A fire caused by a burnt-out car that started last night has grown rapidly today in Pierces Forest near Canberra
  • The fire is now 134 ha in size, but there are no calls to evacuate just yet
  • A thunderstorm with “damaging” winds is on its way

A fire that started from a burnt-out car in Pierces Creek near Canberra CBD is growing rapidly, and residents are being reminded that leaving is the safest option.

The fire is 134ha in size and burning “erratically”, according to the ACT Emergency Services Agency.

More than 20 crews from ACT Fire & Rescue and ACT Rural Fire Service are on site, battling the blaze.

Throughout the day five helicopters conducted water bombing operations.

People have posted videos of rain that’s started to fall in the area.

But according to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) it may not be enough.

A BOM spokesperson told Business Insider that “damaging winds are starting to blow around the Tuggeranong area, with gusts of up to 47 knots (87km/h),” and a thunderstorm is on the way.

“The rainfall will help put the fire out, but the winds are strong and gusty.”

People have shared shots and videos of the fire. You can see the massive smoke cloud billowing up:

This shot was taken last night, and shows what firefighters were up against.

Residents are being warned that there is a chance of death or injury, and some homes and businesses may be damaged or destroyed.

No evacuations have been ordered yet, but residents are being told that while “well prepared and actively defended houses can offer safety during a fire”, leaving early is the safest option, and that they should relocate to the location identified in their Bushfire Survival Plan.

The fire is 7km away from the nearest suburb, and about half an hour’s drive from Canberra CBD. It is heading in a south easterly direction towards Tuggeranong.

The fire started from a burnt-out car and quickly spread to the pine forest at Pierces Creek, according to the ABC.

ACT Fire and Rescue’s Commander Paul Flynn told the ABC 27 crews worked overnight to try and contain the mighty blaze, and detailed how tough today’s work will get.

“We are expecting conditions maybe even too windy for them to operate later on, so we’re going to do as much as we can as early as we can,” he said.

“I’ve got fire and rescue crews, when they get on, to get out there and contact rural lease contacts in the area either by phone or by presence in the area.”

He also said there could be spot fires ahead of the main blaze caused by embers blowing in the strong wind, and told residents to watch out for them.