#NSWfires, weather: Central Tablelands rain falls across firegrounds

FLAMES OF CONCERN: Below average rainfall has been recorded in the Chifley/Lithgow NSW Rural Fire Service zone. Photo: FILE
FLAMES OF CONCERN: Below average rainfall has been recorded in the Chifley/Lithgow NSW Rural Fire Service zone. Photo: FILE

RAIN might have been falling across the Chifley/Lithgow NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) zone, but it's far from enough to ease the concerns of firefighters.

Thousands of hectares of bushland have already been wiped out this bushfire danger period, with the Gospers Mountain bushfire the largest at 512,626 hectares.

While the Chifley/Lithgow zone, which includes Bathurst, Lithgow and Oberon local government areas, has had some rainfall this month it has still been well below average.

Lithgow has recorded the most rain at 50.0 millimeters, which is well below the city's January average of 94.3mm.

In Bathurst 31.2mm of rain has been recorded (average is 63.0mm), while 16.0mm has been received in Oberon (January average of 80.1mm).

At 5.05pm on Monday afternoon, RFS crews were called to a tree fire that was ignited by a lightning strike during a thunderstorm. The blaze has since been brought under control.

RFS zone operational officer Brett Taylor said the region was extremely dry due to the drought and the rain's benefit would not last very long.

"The rain has given us a reprieve, but we could certainly do with more because it was so dry and the benefit of that will disappear pretty quickly," he said.

Chifley/Lithgow RFS firefighters have been on high alert for months with crews battling the massive Gospers Mountain bushfire since it was ignited by lightning near Lithgow on October 26.

"The rain has given us time to rest and get back to normal life again," Mr Taylor said.

"Hopefully within the next few days the [Section 44] declaration will be revoked on Gospers Mountain."

Firefighters from the Chifley/Lithgow zone have also been battling the 17,414 hectare Palmers Oaky bushfire which was burning in the Cudgeong RFS zone near Mudgee during the past month.

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This story Rain has done little to douse flames of concern for firefighters first appeared on Lithgow Mercury.