SYDNEY, Dec 2, 2019, AAP, 9News. A severe weather warning has been issued for large parts of NSW with fears winds will fan more than 100 fires burning across the state, including one that’s at emergency level, 9News reported.
The blaze at the south coast Shoalhaven region has almost doubled in size after being whipped up by westerly winds.
Damaging winds are expected in the Hunter, Illawarra, Northern Tablelands and parts of the Mid North Coast, Central Tablelands and Southern Tablelands districts.
Gusts in excess of 90km/h are forecast, with the most severe conditions expected this afternoon.
The fire north of Batemans Bay has burnt through more than 11,560 hectares and is quickly spreading east.
The Princes Highway has been closed in both directions between Termeil and the Kings Highway turn off, cutting access to coastal communities in the area.
The Rural Fire Service NSW has warned those living in areas between Kioloa and North Durras, including Depot Beach, Pebbly Beach, Pretty Beach and Bawley Point, that it’s too late to leave.
“Fire activity increased over the evening due to strong westerly winds,” the RFS said in an emergency warning.
“Firefighters are working in the area to protect properties where possible.
“Seek shelter as the fire impacts. It is too late to leave.”
Two million hectares of NSW land have been burnt since July in more than 7000 fires which have raged in the “most challenging bushfire season ever”.
Six people have died while 673 homes have been destroyed to date.
Three “watch and act” alerts were also in place on this morning at Ruined Castle, south of Katoomba in the NSW Blue Mountains, and two in close proximity in the Lake Burragorang area.
The fire at Ruined Castle is under control but slowly burning in a northern direction towards Cliff Drive, at Katoomba’s southern edge. Those around Cliff Drive have been told to monitor for spot fires.
A total fire ban has been issued today across the far north coast, Greater Hunter and New England regions due to forecast hot and windy conditions.
“While it’s expected to be cooler tomorrow, it’s going to be very windy in many areas,” the RFS tweeted.
“This will present challenging conditions for several days with so many fires.”
Air quality in southwest Sydney, meanwhile, has been declared hazardous, with those suffering heart or lung problems recommended to stay indoors.