The New South Wales Rural Fire Service is bracing for another day of tough conditions as two large bushfires continue to burn in the Hunter Valley and Port Stephens regions.
Fire authorities have conducted aerial surveillance of the blazes near Cessnock and Karuah on Monday morning.
The Lone Pine Fire at Port Stephens, burning in the areas of Karuah, Balickera, Limeburner’s Creek and Swan Bay, is still out of control and has burned through 6500ha.
The fire has been downgraded to Watch and Act status, after easing conditions assisted firefighters.
The Rural Fire Service (RFS) said overnight crews would identify containment lines and conduct backburning if conditions were suitable.
It was downgraded overnight from emergency warning to watch and act status, but the RFS said fire activity had now increased in the areas of Taylors Rd and Pipe Creek Rd, north of Medowie.
According to the latest RFS advice, there are isolated rural properties in the area and those people should monitor conditions and be aware of smoke and embers.
The advice also said residents of Limeburner’s Creek, Karuah, Swan Bay and Nine Mile creek should continue to monitor the situation and take advice from firefighters in the area.
The threat to North Arm Cove and Carrington has eased.
Around 200 firefighters and waterbombing helicopters will be in the Karuah region on Monday.
The Cessnock fire was downgraded overnight to advice level, but firefighters are continuing to work on a fire burning in bushland around the Aberdare, Kearsley and Kitchener areas.
Kitchener Public School near Cessnock has been closed today for the safety of staff and students.
Temperatures are set to climb in the 30s in NSW today, with north-westerly winds.
Port Stephens is expected to hit 31C on Monday, Karuah 33C, Balickera 32C and Medowie 32C, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
The Pacific Highway has reopened after being closed by the fire near Karuah yesterday, but motorists have been asked to use caution as there are firefighters in the area.
Around NSW, fire authorities at working on 52 bush and grass fires, with 12 of those uncontained.
This is the fire situation from the north of Raymond Terrace up to Karuah.The fires are burning on both sides of the Pacific Highway in this area and is closed.Please delay travel today, do not come past Taree or past Newcastle/End of M1 freeway use New England Highway if possible and watch livetraffic.com for updates.For all live time updates please check the Rural Fire Service NSW website www.rfs.nsw.gov.au
Posted by BIG4 Karuah Jetty Holiday Park on 2016年11月5日
Karuah resident ‘saved his home’ with garden hoses
RFS acting operations supervisor Peter Becker directed firefighting efforts in the Karuah area on Sunday and said some properties came very close to being lost.
“There was one house down there I thought we had no hope in hell of saving and when we got down the house was still intact because yesterday [the owner] was out with garden hoses and sprinklers, put them on his roof, and turned them on,” Mr Becker said.
“And he had trees growing over his house, and he saved it.”
He said some farm sheds had been lost after some unexpected wind changes on Sunday.
Cessnock resident Emmie Hallett, who had a close call when her home caught alight from burning embers, praised the work of firefighters.
“Amazing job, yeah, this really, really could have been a whole other story,” she said.
“This house could have gone up so the fact they were able to deal with it so quickly and they were just here when it happened, amazing, we can’t thank them enough.”
— David Marchese (@davidmarchese) November 6, 2016
Air quality warning
The fires burning across the Hunter region are having a big impact on air quality, according to the Environment Protection Authority.
EPA Hunter director Karen Marler said while the levels of fine particles, known as PM 10, had dropped in the last few hours, a change in wind direction could see them rise again.
“We’ve looked at the Newcastle air monitoring network data, the PM 10, ” she said.
“So the fine particle PM 10 levels peaked at around 1am at Stockton. We recorded 301 micrograms per cubic metre at that time.
“Since then it has been steadily declining. Standard for PM 10 is actually a 24-hour average and the standard is 50.”