| 27.10,19. 09:43 PM |
NSW fires ramp up again north of Forster-Tuncurry, residents urged to plan ahead
Flames surround a Tuncurry backyard. (ABC News)
Emergency crews have gained the upper hand in fighting 85 fires across NSW but two blazes near Forster-Tuncurry have escalated again.
A fire in Darawank, which has destroyed two homes, is now at a Watch and Act level and moving towards Corrigan.
The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) is warning people in Hallidays Point, Corrigan, Tallwoods Village, Black Head, Red Head and Diamond Beach should be aware of burning embers.
Another blaze, near Minimbah, which has been burning for more than a week, was brought under control overnight but also lifted to a Watch and Act this afternoon.
"Fire activity is increasing in the north-western part of the fireground. If your plan is to leave, leave early before the fire threatens," the RFS said.
The fire has crossed the Coolongolook River and will continue to burn on the western side of Tuncurry.
Many residents in the Tuncurry area were metres from losing their homes to the blaze yesterday.
The Bourke family fought 30-metre flames for more than three hours and saved their heritage-listed home.
"It was terrifying, I thought we were done for," Sharon Bourke said.
"The fire surrounded us on all sides and was above the trees, so we grabbed the hoses and stayed because this house means too much to us to leave."
Neighbour Karen Burton was evacuated by firefighters and grabbed her husband's ashes before fleeing.
"There was smoke everywhere, I just ran and took my important belongings," she said.
"I haven't seen anything like this here before, I'm just so grateful we are still here."
Two evacuation centres have been set up for residents affected by the those fires, at the Tuncurry Beach Bowling Club and one at Club Taree.
Greg Allan from the RFS urged residents to report spot fires as soon as possible.
"If you're in the Darawank area, continue to monitor conditions and be ready to take action if the fire does reach your location, if you do see an unattended fire — that's flames without a truck — call triple-0 straight away," he said.
Total fire bans are in place for Greater Sydney, Greater Hunter, the North Coast, New England, the Northern Slopes, and the North Western and Central Ranges.