Locals on edge over Big Hill fire near Crescent Head, Port Macquarie

Goolawah Co-operative Big Hill
Goolawah Co-operative Big Hill

The Big Hill Fire between Crescent Head and Port Macquarie is currently nearly 9000 hectares in size with strong winds creating difficulty for firefighters to get the blaze under control.

The fire, which was attended by the Rural Fire Service on Tuesday, has had many locals in Crescent Head, Big Hill, Hat Head and Port Macquarie on alert all week. For some residents in Big Hill earlier this week, the blaze came within metres of their property, while locals in Port Macquarie are experiencing issues with heavy smoke and ash falling on properties.

Speaking to the Argus, a resident of the Goolawah Co-operative near Big Hill said some people had their bags ready to go.

“The fire came up from the south and we watched it all day - we were preparing, people were going around doing last minute cleaning up and we have our own little fire truck which we got ready.

“People were on alert and then when the RFS raised the alert level we were getting nervous.

“By early evening the fire had burnt right up to the southern edge of our place so probably a few hundred meters from the first house on our property

Goolawah Co-operative Big Hill

Goolawah Co-operative Big Hill

“No one was panicking, but we had our bags packed. Now it's flaring up again, we're watching what the wind is doing!”

One Port Macquarie local told of how quickly conditions have been changing over the past few days.

Thick smoke in Port Macquarie

Thick smoke in Port Macquarie

“We saw the fire from Town Beach right before we went for an early dinner. As soon as we came out the sky was basically black. I had ash falling on my washing.”

The heavy smoke and ash has been attributed to the burning of trees with high oil content.

Big Hill

Big Hill

Big Hill resident, Alicia said the last few days have had her on edge.

“Yesterday was our third day facing the bushfires. I was balancing on the edge between feeling calm, trusting that the firefighters had it under control and feeling nervous that the winds could change at any moment sending flames through our property.

“The constant noise of helicopters was eerie, keeping me aware that we needed to stay alert and watch what the smoke was doing. I'm told that the nearby tea tree plantations give off the black smoke, due to the high oil content.

“Many, many thanks to the RFS and all the firefights for your amazing work in keeping our homes and properties safe.”

The fire sits at Advice level with the RFS urging locals to keep up to date with the latest information on the Fires Near Me app and website.