As the bushfire threat eases in Victoria and South Australia, the danger appears to have increased in southern New South Wales where a number of homes are understood to have been destroyed.
Around 100 fires are burning in NSW and one emergency warning is in place for the Hells Hole fire at Trunkey Creek near Bathurst with firefighters working through the night to battle blazes and build containment lines.
The Trunkey Creek fire is burning in the Copperhannia National Park area, with residents urged to follow bushfire survival plans.
High temperatures and fire danger are predicted for the start of the week.
“The fire danger is going to be very high,” an RFS spokesman said.
No “significant” rain is expected for the start of the week and there are no total fire bans in place.
“The winds fortunately aren’t going to be overly strong so hopefully that will give us a little bit of time to get some more work done on those containment lines,” the spokesman said.
An intense blaze at Minnimbah near Wagga Wagga has also been downgraded to watch and act status after destroying at least three homes and forcing evacuations in the village of Carabost.
Deteriorating conditions have helped fan a fire threatening the isolated rural NSW properties.
An emergency warning has been issued for the Humula, Carabost and Little Billabong areas after a southwesterly wind change on Sunday afternoon put homes “under immediate threat” from the out-of-control Minimbah fire, which is “burning quickly and erratically”, the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) says.
It has blazed through more than 8000 hectares.
“Firefighters are actively undertaking property protection,” the RFS said on its website.
“There are reports of property losses, however, due to dangerous fire conditions, firefighters are unable to enter a number of fire-affected areas.”
About 900 firefighters have been deployed across NSW to battle 50 fires sparked on Saturday by lightning strikes.
— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) January 19, 2014
In Victoria, a favourable wind change spared the tourist town of Halls Gap from widespread destruction when it stopped an advancing bushfire four kilometres shy of the town’s boundaries.
Ten homes were destroyed by the blaze and more than 51,800 hectares burnt, and Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said that number would increase.
Across Victoria 35 fires are still listed as burning, with 130,000 hectares burnt.
Easing conditions have helped firefighters in South Australia battling the Bangor fire in the southern Flinders Ranges.
The blaze has destroyed six homes and burnt more than 19,000 hectares of grassland, and is the only fire in the state that remains on a watch and act alert.
The SA Country Fire Service (CFS) says while the fire has not grown significantly on Sunday, it is still not controlled.
— Country Fire Service (@CFSAlerts) January 19, 2014
Residents in the area are urged not to return as the fire is still burning in steep terrain with conditions changing continually.
A blaze in Eden Valley that burnt through more than 24,000 hectares has been downgraded to advice level.
Meanwhile in Western Australia, one week on from a bushfire which destroyed dozens of homes in Perth’s hills, the fall-out from the disaster is continuing.
Earlier this week it was confirmed the blaze was caused by a fallen power pole on private property.
This has prompted the State Opposition to call for inspection responsibilities for private power poles to be transferred from landholders to Energy Safety.
While the Premier, Colin Barnett says he would like to see a system of regular inspections for privately owned power poles, he does not believe taxpayers should foot the bill.
“It is the responsibility of the private property owner and I don’t believe that the tax payer should have to pay for that, so I would favour a system of regular inspection that can be approved and show these poles are safe,” he said.
It has also been revealed the radio frequency used by emergency services on the day of the fire was hacked.
A fire near Riverslea near Margaret River has decreased as a threat.