| 20.10,19. 04:45 AM |
Pinkett Road bushfire at Backwater near Armidale downgraded to watch and act
Photo: Firefighters have warned residents near Backwater fire to seek shelter. (Supplied: NSW Rural Fire Service)
An emergency warning issued for a bushfire burning towards properties on Pinkett Road at Backwater near Armidale in the New South Wales northern tablelands has been downgraded to watch and act.
The fire started on the western side of Turnhams Road, before crossing to Mount Mitchell Road.
It is now burning on the northern side of Pinkett Road, according to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS).
But weather conditions have begun to ease in the region, with RFS crews able to stop the easterly spread of the fire.
The RFS warns the fire will burn for some time, but limited homes and properties are at risk.
Conditions are still expected to be risky up until late Saturday night, when winds are expected to have eased significantly.
Residents are being advised to monitor conditions closely and to be ready to take shelter if the situation changes.
Emergency alert phone messages were sent to the area.
Elsewhere, a watch and act alert was issued for Silent Grove, Torrington, near Tenterfield and close to the Queensland border, just before 4:00pm.
It is understood firefighters are working with residents at two remote rural properties in the area.
Fires are also burning at Minimbah Road near Forster on the NSW mid-north coast, Busbys Flat Road in Busbys Flat in Richmond Valley, and Bees Nest and Carrai Creek in Armidale.
Those fires were downgraded to advice level late on Saturday afternoon.
Inspector Shepherd said weather conditions with westerly wind gusts of up to 60 kilometres per hour and low humidity were likely to pose an increased fire risk over the weekend before conditions improved next week.
He said more than 5,000 fires had burnt more than 400,000 hectares in NSW since July, compared with about 200,000 hectares burnt during each of the past couple of fire seasons.
"We are only in October and we've now burnt more than the last two fire seasons and we've still got a long way to go," he said.
"Without any significant rainfall on the horizon there is a possibility of more fires and therefore an increased risk to the community, so we're asking everyone to play their part and ensure they're well prepared for this fire season."