The Rural Fire Service says it is working on containment lines in a bid to protect a Lake Macquarie nursing home from an out of control fire.
The blaze in the Awabakal Nature Reserve at Redhead has been upgraded to ‘watch and act’ because of the weather.
More than 40 firefighters are conducting backburning operations between Dudley and Redhead, and their efforts are being supported by several waterbombing helicopters.
RFS spokesman Stuart O’Keefe says there has been an increase in fire activity and residents must remain vigilant.
“That’s due to the fact that we’re in daylight and things are heating up, and also backburning operations are being undertaken,” he said.
“So people are probably seeing a lot of smoke and a lot fire trucks moving around the area.
“But we are continuing with the backburning operation to contain this fire on the southern edges and that’s down towards the nursing home that’s on Redhead Road.”
The RFS says it may ask for help from Victorian fire crews as it tries to bring the fire under control.
Mr O’Keefe says winds of up to 40 kilometres an hour are causing problems.
“We do get the odd flare up here and there, and as a result of that we’re sending in some more resources as a precaution,” he said.
“We have access to a Victorian crew, that’s been based in Sydney.
“They’ve come up here to supplement the local crews.
“We may send some of the local crews down and allow the Victorians to come in and assist us for a few hours this afternoon.”
ABC reporter Scott Bevan is at Redhead Road at Dudley where firefighters are battling spot fires.
“Flames flared up once more and the fight was on…to keep these flames at bay from the road, and also from residences,” he said.
“You see just how close houses are.
“There’s a clap of about six houses here and the residents have been out watching, as just on the other side of this road flames have been licking.”
Lynda lives in Dudley, just metres from the Awabakal Nature Reserve.
She returned home this morning and says she was surprised to see how close the fire came to her house.
“We just made sure we were safe, and we were, and that was the main thing,” she said.
“I grabbed my mother’s jewellery – I lost my mother this year so that was important.
“I grabbed a couple of photographs that were out and I thought, ‘you know what? I’m going’.
“And I just got in the car and my husband said to me, ‘you’re not taking anything else?’ and I said, ‘no, it’s not important’.
“(The house) it’s a box, it really is.
“You know, we’re insured, and it can be replaced.”