A FEMALE firefighter has been hospitalised after she was injured battling a huge blaze burning north-west of Bathurst.
The Belerada Creek fire ignited along Freemantle Road at Gowan around 6.30pm on Friday and has since grown to 1389 hectares.
NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) Chifley/Lithgow Team operational officer Brett Taylor said the female firefighter was airlifted from the scene on Sunday and taken to Orange Hospital.
“She has a sore back, the tree hit her on the back,” he said.
“It was serious, but not life-threatening.”
Mr Taylor said the firefighter was from a Chifley zone brigade and following tests was released from hospital the following day.
Meanwhile, NSW RFS Shane Fitzsimmons has stepped in to invoke Section 44 of the Rural Fires Act 1997 which declares the blaze a ‘bushfire emergency’ to allow more resources from outside the local district to be deployed.
Crews from across Chifley and Canobolas zones have been on the scene since the fire ignited, with relief crews coming in from Cumberland and the Blue Mountains.
No homes have been lost in the blaze, however, firefighters did work hard to protect a property called Woolnut Station at the end of Freemantle Road on Sunday.
Mr Taylor said late Monday that the eastern side of the blaze was still not contained, with ground and air crews preparing for a back-burn in the area overnight.
“The location and territory makes it impossible to directly attack the fire,” he said.
She has a sore back, the tree hit her on the back.RFS Chifley/Lithgow Team operational officer Brett Taylor
“It did start in open grassland, but it’s now in bushland.”
Mr Taylor warned that the back-burn would cause significant smoke in the region and has urged people to stay up-to-date on the RFS Fires Near Me app or website.
The bushfire was still listed as ‘being controlled’ late Monday, with a ‘watch and act’ alert in place for nearby residents to remain vigilant.
The cause of the blaze is currently unknown and it is now under investigation by the RFS.
Hot weather is predicted to continue this week in Bathurst with temperatures to reach highs in the low to mid 30s.
There will be a very high fire danger in Bathurst, Oberon and Lithgow on Tuesday.