News State NSW News NSW firefighters gain the upper hand on two out-of-control blazes

NSW firefighters gain the upper hand on two out-of-control blazes

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Fire crews back burn areas of bushland at Salt Ash in the Hunter region on Sunday. Photo: AAP
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Firefighters have gained the upper hand on two blazes that were raging out of control across New South Wales.

An emergency warning had been issued for a fire at Ellangowan, southwest of Ballina, after it broke containment lines and jumped a creek at about 4.30pm on Sunday.

But Rural Fire Services downgraded the warning to a watch and act level shortly after 6pm, thanks to easing conditions at the bushfire.

“Conditions have eased slightly with @NSWRFS and @FRNSW [Rural Fire Service and Fire and Rescue NSW] crews in position to support residents protecting properties,” the RFS said.

The fire has torn through more than 2000 hectares.

It came after firefighters also gained control of a fire at Salt Ash, just north of Newcastle in the state’s Hunter region.

The fire was downgraded about 4pm after it had also burnt through almost 2000 hectares.

“Gusty westerly winds are impacting the fire ground and increasing fire activity,” RFS said about 6.30pm.

Lemon Tree Passage Road remained closed but police were escorting vehicles through the fire affected area.

The fire remained at a watch and act level about 7.15pm on Sunday.

A caravan may have been destroyed in the fire but crews are yet to confirm, RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said.

In the state’s north, Ellangowan residents were told to continue monitoring the situation should conditions change.

That blaze had been burning toward isolated rural properties and residents were earlier told it was too late to leave.

They were told to seek shelter as the fire approached.

A very high fire danger remains in place for NSW’s northeast as well as the greater Sydney region.

“Whilst it is a little bit cooler, those strong winds are going to keep fanning those fires,” Mr Rogers told the Seven Network on Sunday.

“We’re looking at those winds extending into around Wednesday.”

Nearly 20 buildings, mostly outbuildings, have been destroyed by fires since late last week.

On Friday, helicopter pilot Allan Tull died while water-bombing a fire west of Ulladulla, on the south coast.

Firefighters battle to contain the Salt Ash fire on Sunday.
Firefighters battle to contain the Salt Ash fire on Sunday. Photo: AAP

It’s believed the 1994 Kawasaki helicopter’s water bucket became stuck in trees, pulling the chopper down.

There were 82 bush and grass fires continuing to burn across the state on Sunday evening, about 7.30pm, most of which were at the advice level.

A severe weather warning for damaging winds was issued on Sunday afternoon, encompassing the entire coastline from Kempsey on the mid-north to the bottom of the state.

Winds averaging 50 to 60km/h, with gusts of more than 90km/h were possible south of Wollongong, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

NSW Police earlier charged a 14-year-old boy for allegedly deliberately lighting a fire in the state’s far north.

The fire at Tabulam, west of Casino, damaged a fire truck and threatened a property on Saturday.

The teenager was granted bail to appear at a children’s court on September 5.

Separately, a 52-year-old man remains before the courts after allegedly starting a blaze in the Tabulam area that destroyed about 12 hectares of bushland last Wednesday.

For the latest fire information, visit the RFS website.

-with AAP

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