| 19.08,18. 02:32 PM |
Salt Ash bushfire in NSW upgraded to emergency as residents are warned it is too late to leave
Photo: Strong winds have hampered efforts by firefighters to contain the blaze. (ABC News: Nancy Notzon)
An emergency warning has been issued as the Salt Ash bushfire, in New South Wales' Hunter region, intensifies again.
The NSW Rural Fire Service [RFS] said the out of control fire at Port Stephens, which has already destroyed more than 1486 hectares, is burning towards Rookes Road, Lemon Tree Passage Road and Brownes Road.
The RFS said fire activity was "increasing as the day warms up". Salt Ash was in an emergency state last night, but was downgraded this morning before picking up again.
People in the area have been warned to take shelter as the fire approaches - it is too late to leave.
Strong westerly winds have impacted the fire ground.
There have been no confirmed reports of any loss or damage to property.
The RFS has also warned people in the areas of Tilligerry, Tanilba Bay, Mallabula and Lemon Tree Passage.
As of this morning, there are about 82 bush and grass fires burning across the state.
Firefighters will continue working to contain fires burning in Port Stephens, Shoalhaven and Bega.
The RFS said windy conditions are not expected to ease up until Wednesday, which means some areas will remain Very High fire danger.