Rain relief for firefighters and thanks from Jenolan members

DEVASTATED: Jenolan Caves Rural Fire Service member Barry Richard in front of the brigade's burnt-out rural fire headquarters.
DEVASTATED: Jenolan Caves Rural Fire Service member Barry Richard in front of the brigade's burnt-out rural fire headquarters.

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

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 and the Green Wattle Creek fire at over 278,000 hectares.

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

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Lithgow has recorded the most rain at 50 millimetres, which is well below the city's January average of 94.3mm. Bathurst has had 31.2mm of rain (the average is 63mm), while 16mm has been received in Oberon (the January average is 80.1mm).

At 5.05pm on Monday, 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.

"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 17,414ha Palmers Oaky bushfire which was burning in the Cudgeong RFS zone near Mudgee during the past month.

JENOLAN CAVES

FIREFIGHTING crews battled for weeks to save the heritage-listed Jenolan Caves House and now the long clean-up has begun before visitors can return to the area.

Jenolan Caves Chifley Zone RFS group captain Barry Richard was one of the dozens of people involved in the firefighting efforts to defend the 122-year-old, heritage-listed building. But unfortunately they could not save their fire headquarters, which was lost in the fire.

Jenolan Caves Rural Fire Service members would like to thank a number of companies that kindly donated items for their new shed once it's completed.

Legend Shopping Tours has donated kitchen appliances, Home and Gift Warehouse has donated kitchen utensils and Lumiere Cosmetic Clinic and Rosa FL Fashion have donated a fridge.