| 13.02,19. 05:11 AM |
Structures at Jubullum Aboriginal community destroyed as bushfire emergency grips NSW
Photo: Conditions are set to worsen this afternoon and Tingha is in the firing line. (Facebook: Gordon Short)
A bushfire in NSW's north east near Casino has destroyed structures in an Indigenous community as firefighters battle through the night to control two blazes across the state.
The damage occurred at the Jubullum Aboriginal community but the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) was unable to confirm whether the structures were sheds, homes or other buildings.
The community is just near the Bruxner Highway, near Tabulam where a fire is burning at an emergency level on multiple fronts.
RFS commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said many people in the Jubullum settlement chose to relocate early to Tabulam.
"The fire has certainly burnt intensely through the settlement," he said.
"We are not quite sure about the extent of the damage yet."
The Tabulam racecourse has also been damaged as well as some farm sheds on the southern edge of town.
The Bruxner Highway is closed in both directions between Clarence Way and Bruxner Road.
It was feared isolated properties would come under threat overnight.
The other fire is about 10 kilometres from the town of Tingha, in the northern tablelands, and is travelling quickly.
Firefighters and aircraft have been unable to slow its spread toward the townships of Tingha and Old Mill, about 160 kilometres north of Tamworth.
"There's every prospect that if it keeps burning the way it is it could reach the township of Tingha," Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.
"This is shaping up to be one of the worst weather days for fires this season for sure."
Tingha has a population of around 800.
There is an emergency evacuation centre open at Inverell High School and a Neighbourhood Safer Place at the Tingha Primary School and Recreation Reserve for anyone not prepared to defend their properties.
Mayor of Inverell Paul Harmon said it was a "very scary" situation.
"This fire is burning quite profusely."
Thunderbolts Way and Bundarra Road is closed between Bundarra and Inverell.
There was a statewide total fire ban in NSW on Tuesday with hot temperatures and strong winds making for dangerous conditions.
Emergency Alert telephone warnings have been sent to telephones in the area.