’It was like a river of fire creating its own current’

 

Musician Pat McFarlane successfully defended his friends' house; when he went back to his own home it was destroyed.

The 62-year-old said his Christmas was ruined after a blaze took his rental home.

"Everything I own is in that pile of ashes," the Crane Rd, Lithgow resident told The Sunday Telegraph.

"At least my dog Jack and I are ok.

"It was like a river of fire creating it's own current."

 

Lithgow resident Pat McFarlane standing in front of the ruins of his home on Crane Road, Lithgow today. Picture: Tim Hunter.
Lithgow resident Pat McFarlane standing in front of the ruins of his home on Crane Road, Lithgow today. Picture: Tim Hunter.

Mr McFarlane said his other friends were supposed to be coming for Christmas but are stuck because of road closures in the Blue Mountains.

Standing with a hose pouring water over the smouldering ruins, he said "I just don't know what I'm going to do".

A massive fire approaches a property in Bilpin. Picture: Jeremy Piper
A massive fire approaches a property in Bilpin. Picture: Jeremy Piper

 

Fire crews watch on as the blaze approaches the Bilpin Fruit Bowl. Photo Jeremy Piper
Fire crews watch on as the blaze approaches the Bilpin Fruit Bowl. Photo Jeremy Piper

Earlier fire crews in Lithgow are rushing to the end of Gell Rd after violent winds gusts kicked up the blaze.

The fire front is only metres from homes at Cobar Park and has moved about 150m in less than fives minutes.

Police and fire crews have been knocking on every door and warning people of the dangers.

RFS fire crews working to save properties on Ivatt St in Cobar Park near Lithgow today. Picture: Tim Hunter.
RFS fire crews working to save properties on Ivatt St in Cobar Park near Lithgow today. Picture: Tim Hunter.

Residents like Rob Corney - who has lived through two major fires in the area - are hosing their homes with water.

"I've never seen the fire jump as much as this; it's spotting fires everywhere," the 42-year-old said.

"I'm not going anywhere because I've got nowhere else to go. I'm not starting from scratch again."

One abandoned home has already been lost this morning in Cobar Park.

There are now ten fire trucks and roughly 40 firefighters battling the blaze, which is expected to get worse when winds pick up in the afternoon.

Residents trying to save their properties on Ivatt St in Cobar Park near Lithgow. Picture: Tim Hunter.
Residents trying to save their properties on Ivatt St in Cobar Park near Lithgow. Picture: Tim Hunter.

Lithgow deputy group captain Adam Sharwood said the Gell Rd area is currently a top priority for the Lithgow RFS.

"We can't get control over any of the lines between the fire front and Lithgow," the RFS volunteer said.

"Anywhere east of here will be affected."

The fire around Oaky Park - which is 3km east of Cobar Park - was under control as of 11.52am.

Earlier, fire crews managed to save several houses after flames came within 8m of properties.

At least five fire trucks swarmed around McKellars Park and Cobar Park in Lithgow, as the main fire accelerated through the region at about 7.30am.

Crews battled for more than three hours to bring the blaze under control.

Rural Fire Service Rock Forest captain Neil Gunning said crews rushed to the area following a triple-0 call this morning.

RFS fire crews working to save properties on Ivatt St in Cobar Park near Lithgow today as the bushfires continue to burn. Picture: Tim Hunter.
RFS fire crews working to save properties on Ivatt St in Cobar Park near Lithgow today as the bushfires continue to burn. Picture: Tim Hunter.

"We have managed to get to the fire before it hit any homes however one abandoned property has been lost," Mr Gunning told The Sunday Telegraph.

"We will monitor it because there is still a lot of fire activity and it is still burning on the western side of the hill," he said.

"Conditions will deteriorate."

RFS crews battled fore more than three hours to stop the blaze from reaching homes. Picture: Tim Hunter.
RFS crews battled fore more than three hours to stop the blaze from reaching homes. Picture: Tim Hunter.

 

While the majority of residents have left, others remain behind. Picture: Tim Hunter.
While the majority of residents have left, others remain behind. Picture: Tim Hunter.

The majority of residents in the leafy suburb - which is surrounded on three sides by bushland - have decided to leave.

However 55-year-old Martyn White has two hoses and some buckets and has vowed to defend his property.

His neighbour has decided to do the same.

Martyn White outside his home near where RFS fire crews are working to save properties on Ivatt st in Cobar Park near Lithgow. Picture: Tim Hunter.
Martyn White outside his home near where RFS fire crews are working to save properties on Ivatt st in Cobar Park near Lithgow. Picture: Tim Hunter.

Mr White said his efforts will be impacted by the lack of water pressure in the area - a situation caused by firefighters needing to access water mains.

"I don't care what they say I am not going anywhere," he told The Sunday Telegraph.

"In this situation you only have to worry about yourself and look out for number one."

The area has been hit by fires in 1997 and 2013.

RFS volunteers battling the blaze at Cobar Park near Lithgow. Picture: Tim Hunter.
RFS volunteers battling the blaze at Cobar Park near Lithgow. Picture: Tim Hunter.

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