Fires in Orange

Mt Canobolas, Orange NSW, on fire; above Swinging Bridge vineyard
Mt Canobolas, Orange NSW, on fire above Swinging Bridge vineyard

This weekend has been a bad one for Orange and surrounds. A bushfire started (apparently deliberately) up on Mt Canobolas, which is the 1440m high group of old volcanoes above Orange. It took hold and the last 2 days have seen the sky filled with helicopters and a DC10 tanker, along with 100 fighters battling the mountainous flames. The smoke has been massive, as you can imagine, and we worry for the wildlife in the region, especially the ground life on the mountain itself. Fortunately the higher speed animals could make their escape as only the north-west, north, and eastern sides are affected, but the ground wildlife will take a massive hit. There is a known peregrine eyrie just to the west of the current western fireline, down in a deep valley. We’re hopeing the best for that eyrie. The fireys have done an amazing job, saving the TV, radio, and air traffic control infrastructure on the summit.

Diamond, Xavier and clan will be OK as the campus is on the opposite side of Orange to Mt Canobolas, but at times the smoke would’ve posed issues.

The fire continues to border on some of our vineyards, but no houses have gone yet. Will keep everyone up to date as best I can, but if you see smoke around the cameras it’s probably from about 8-10kms distant.

Mt Canobolas, near Orange NSW, fire map
Mt Canobolas, near Orange NSW, fire map
Mt Canobolas Orange on fire, north face
Mt Canobolas Orange on fire, north face

8 thoughts

  1. Deliberately lit? That makes me so furious! This is why we can’t have nice things 🙁 I hope everything will be under control very soon. The windy conditions that we could see from the ledge yesterday must’ve been a nightmare.

    Thanks heaps for the update, Scott. Stay safe.

  2. What is it with these idiots who deliberately start fires? I really hope it’s brought under control soon – and I hope the peregrines at the eyrie in the valley will be safe. I’m assuming that their young will be long fledged and dispersed.

  3. I understood it was lit by lightning, but we’ll know more once the investigation has been done. Apparently a wind change caused the fire to have a much larger front than at first. A large fire like this will need a major investigation. The mountain is full of rare species and is virtually an island, so the damage will be severe. There have been regular prescribed hazard-reduction burnings in the native forest, but none in the pine of course, which will take a major hit.

    And I’m back from snorkelling (yesterday). Did see some lovely birds, too. Particularly water bird and seabirds (including the spectacular leysan albatross nesting). I couldn’t get into the website from the US (Hawaii), which is a bit odd.

    We don’t know whether the peregrines at Mount Canobolas nested this year. I planned and led a trek to their eyrie in November, but took a bad tumble going down, so didn’t get there. If they had, as you say, the young would have dispersed by know.

  4. Welcome back, Cilla! The weather still looks bad for fire over there but at least a bit less windy than it was on the weekend.

  5. I see it’s hot and windy over there again today 🙁 I hope the fireys have managed to get the jump on the fires over the last day or so…

  6. Does the entrance to the box face in the direction of the fires? I know it must face in a somewhat southerly direction but I’m not at all sure of the geography of the area.

    1. Hi everyone!
      To answer your question Clare, Mount Canobolas is in the south-west direction from Orange, whereas the “Concrete Hilton” is on campus in the north-east boundary of Orange. The window indeed faces south so the Mount, and Orange city, are just out of view to the right, but from the ledge the falcons would get a great view of the destruction.

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