NSW fire conditions ease, RFS says full reprieve not expected until Friday

Al Ramos said firefighters told him to evacuate Dybara Park Cottages in Barragga Bay about 2pm on Tuesday.

“I spent all night waiting for news and I’m still waiting,” he said.

“I went to Narooma overnight and slept in my car. I drove back today but the fire brigade has still blocked the roads so I’m now in Bermagui. I don’t know if my property was saved or burned.”

NSW RFS spokeswoman Angela Burford the Coolagolite fire has moved through more than 5000 hectares of land, but crews were less strained when cooler temperatures, increased humidity and scattered rainfall came through the area.

“Firefighters were given the chance to slow the fire because, prior to that, they were all set up for property protection,” she said.

“As we move into [Wednesday], the fire is by no means out. Even with that rainfall, firefighters will continue to work to slow the spread of the fire.”

At least 30 people went to two evacuation centres set up in towns near Coolagolite last night as the fire began to ease.

“The fire came incredibly close to property, we do know there may be buildings affected by the fire which will be assessed later as conditions ease,” Burford said.

As of 6.30am, there were 74 bush and grass fires burning across the state with 18 yet to be contained. The Greater Hunter, Northern Slopes and North Western regions have total fire bans in place; the Greater Sydney region has a high fire danger rating.

“Friday is when we will see a return to low to moderate fire danger,” Burford said.

“The southerly will very slowly move throughout south and western NSW and it’s very variable.”

There was another emergency alert on Tuesday for a fast-moving fire in bushland near Abernethy in the Cessnock region, which was downgraded to an advice level as conditions eased.

Burford said firefighters would be alert to a number of fires in the north-eastern part of the state on Wednesday and there was still a risk some blazes could flare up to emergency levels.

“The Kearsley fire near Cessnock came very close to property [on Tuesday] and it was at an emergency level. That fire is not yet contained,” Burford said.

The emergency warnings are among the first for this bushfire season, which is expected to be the worst since the 2019/20 Black Summer.

The largest uncontrolled fire near Bredbo in the Snowy-Monaro region tripled in size to 1140 hectares under strong winds as firefighters, heavy machinery and aircraft tried to strengthen containment lines.

It fell to advice ahead of expected rainfall across the foreground overnight.

The threats come after some buildings and stock were destroyed by a fast-moving grass fire north of Mudgee in the Central West on Monday afternoon.

NSW Premier Chris Minns said forecasts of a “horrific” bushfire season was one of the things that kept him up at night.

“I don’t want anybody to get over-confident – this could be a really tough bushfire season,” he said.

The premier and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will visit the South Coast on Wednesday to inspect the damage from the early fires.

“We know that the summer that we’re anticipating – and indeed it would appear we’re in right now even though it’s only October – is going to present some real challenges,” Albanese said.

“This is one of the reasons my government, together with state and territory governments, are determined to act on climate change. We also need to deal with the here and now and to improve preparedness.”

Meanwhile, SES crews were also busy on Tuesday after winds exceeding 100km/h tore roofs off hotels and ski lodges at Smiggin Holes, Lake Crackenback and Perisher Valley.

Flood, hail and significant rain warnings were also issued for Tuesday night and Wednesday in the Riverina and Snowy Mountains regions.

With AAP

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/nervous-wait-for-nsw-coastal-towns-amid-looming-fire-20231004-p5e9iy.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_national_nsw NSW fire conditions ease, RFS says full reprieve not expected until Friday

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