NSW bushfires stoked by ferocious winds, emergency alert for blaze near Yamba

| 09.09,19. 01:47 PM |


NSW bushfires stoked by ferocious winds, emergency alert for blaze near Yamba




The RFS said it had been an unprecedented early start to the fire season. (ABC News)


Firefighters are battling intensifying conditions in northern NSW and the Rural Fire Service (RFS) has issued an emergency warning for a fire flaring up in the Clarence Valley.

The RFS said residents in Wooloweyah, Angourie and Yamba should monitor conditions for smoke and embers.

It will be another demanding day for RFS crews after a difficult weekend, with strong south-westerly winds set to fan the 50 blazes active across the state.

There are also two watch and act alerts in place for blazes at Drake near Tenterfield and Ebor near Armidale.

RFS deputy commissioner Rob Rogers said those two fires were "just absolutely enormous".

The Armidale fire covers 55,000 hectares and has a perimeter of more than 100 kilometres.

"There's no quick resolution to this," Mr Rogers said.

"Obviously barring significant rainfall, which we'd absolutely welcome, there's a lot of work on ahead."

A 66-year-old volunteer firefighter who was severely burnt while working on the Tenterfield fireground remains in a critical but stable condition.

He suffered burns to his hands, arm, legs, back, face and airways on Friday afternoon.

Tenterfield Shire councillor Bronwyn Petrie was tackling a blaze when she saw the injured firefighter on a nearby property.

"My first thought was that he was wearing shorts … but I knew I had just seen him in trousers," she said.

"But his trousers had burnt up to his knees and he had no jacket on anymore.

The head of the RFS for the Northern Tablelands, Chris Wallbridge, said the fires that ripped through Tenterfield were the most challenging he had experienced in 20 years of service.

Superintendent Wallbridge told a community meeting last night crews would be tackling the fires near Drake and Ebor for the next few days.

"[After today] winds will drop off for the rest of the week to give us an opportunity to try and get those in the box before the next round of wind next weekend," he said.

Initial assessments in fire-affected areas have found five destroyed homes, four within the Drake area.

Three facilities including two car yards and a pistol club were burnt out in Tenterfield.

The Minister for Agriculture, Adam Marshall, said property owners affected by the fires can apply immediately for disaster relief.

"Those people should contact the NSW rural assistance authority immediately and those who wish to access the emergency fodder and emergency stock water should contact local land services immediately as well.," he said.

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