Firefighter injured battling Gunning bushfire

SOUTHERN Tablelands Rural Fire Service was thrown into action about 3.30pm on Monday afternoon when a grass fire took hold on private property south west of Gunning.

Tablelands RFS community liaison manager Peter Dyce said the fire consumed about 50 hectares of grassland before it was loosely contained. Twenty fire tankers and around 80 personnel were used to contain the blaze as well as three aircraft.

Additional crews were placed on standby at their stations. 

- PHOTO GALLERY: Gunning-Bellmount Forest bushfire

During the early stages a RFS fire truck was damaged by fire and a firefighter was burnt. 

The circumstances of the fire tanker incident are unknown at this stage and will be investigated later.

SouthCare helicopter was initially sent to Gunning but it was decided transfer the patient by road to Goulburn Base Hospital and SouthCare was diverted to the helipad there.

A Southern NSW Health District spokesman said the 30-year-old man suffered burns to five per cent of his body, along with smoke inhalation burns. Medical staff at Goulburn Base Hospital this afternoon were checking on whether his airways needed support.

He was likely to be airlifted the Concord Hospital tonight, the spokesman said.

Tomorrow the forecast is for catastrophic fire conditions and a Total Fire Ban is in place throughout the Southern Tablelands.

The Southern Tablelands RFS is setting up a fire control centre in Goulburn on Tuesday. 

View Gunning-Bellmount Forest Fire in a larger map

Total Fire Ban Rules

DURING a Total Fire Ban no fire may be lit in the open and all Fire permits are suspended. This includes incinerators and barbecues which burn solid fuel, e.g. wood or charcoal. 

You can use an electric barbeque for cooking as long as it is under the direct control of a responsible adult, who is present at all times while it is operating, and no combustible material is allowed within two metres at any time it is operating.

You can use a gas barbeque under the following conditions:

It is under the direct control of a responsible adult, present at all times while it is operating;

No combustible material is allowed within two metres at any time it is operating;

You have an immediate and continuous supply of water; and

The barbeque is within 20 metres of a permanent private dwelling such as a home;

The barbeque is within a picnic area and the appliance is approved by Council, National Parks or State Forest

You cannot use a solid fuel barbeque, like a wood or charcoal barbeque?

On Total Fire Ban Days the lighting of fire is prohibited and your Fire Permit will be automatically suspended. Your permit resumes once the total fire ban is lifted.

Lighting a fire on a day of Total Fire Ban attracts a fine of up to $5500 and/or 12 months jail. Penalties for a fire that escapes and damages or destroys life, property or the environment can attract much greater fines and jail terms with maximums at $100,000 and/or 14 years jail. 

Civil law suits can also be brought against the person responsible for a fire by those seeking compensation for losses sustained.

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