Written by on 12/09/2023

An emergency declaration has been issued for the entire Barkly local government area as a large bushfire burning in the region is expected to move closer to Tennant Creek from Wednesday.

The fire, currently three times the size of the Australian Capital Territory, has been burning for about a week and came within 60 kilometres of the town on Monday morning

NT Acting Chief Minister Nicole Manison said on Tuesday the next 24-48 hours will be critical, and while authorities have been working hard to mitigate potential fire impacts there were no evacuations planned at this stage.

Tennant Creek remains under a “watch and act” alert as of Tuesday midday.

Any unnecessary travel to the region in the next 48 hours should be postponed. There is also back burning taking place so the area is extremely smoky with limited visibility.

NT Police commissioner Michael Murphy said the emergency declaration would provide police with additional powers to ensure the safety of people in case the blaze does cross into the regional town.

“Basically, [it’s] primarily for the protection of life,” he said.

He said extra resources had been deployed to the region from across the Territory, as well as South Australia.

Australian Defence Force personnel have also been deployed to help with strategies and are on the ground with excavators and bulldozers digging fire breaks in and around Tennant Creek .

Acting Chief Fire Officer Josh Fisher said authorities were “really confident” fire breaks would stop the blaze, which has already burnt more than a million hectares, from reaching Tennant Creek.

“It’s approximately 30km from Tennant Creek at this time,” he said at midday on Tuesday.

“A combination of ground-based burning, mineral earth control line establishment and aerial (bombing) … is all to ensure we can prevent this fire from spreading to Tennant Creek.”

Tennant Creek Residents will be able to get information from the Emergency Services and Barkly Regional Council Mayor Jeffrey McLaughlin during a public meeting at 5pm, Tuesday at the Peko Rd Civic Hall where local police, Fire and Emergency Services along with the Barkly Regional Council Mayor will be on hand.

Article complied from various sources including, ABC, Image credits: Bushfires NT and Steve Eddington


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