Emergency warnings as NSW bushfires rage

Australia

It’s feared one of the bushfires burning in NSW’s northeast has damaged properties hours after emergency warnings were issued for residents stuck in the fires’ paths.

Strong winds fanned an out-of-control bushfire toward the Tabulam township, with more than 1499 hectares incinerated by Tuesday evening.

People in the area of the settlement were told they “should seek shelter if the fire impacts” and protect themselves from its heat.

There are unconfirmed reports structures have been damaged, the NSW Rural Fire Service said, and the blaze is turning north to threaten isolated homes through the evening.

An emergency warning was also issued to people in the vicinity of a fast-moving bushfire burning south of Inverell in northern NSW which has burned almost 5000 hectares by sundown.

Firefighters and aircraft have were unable to slow the fire which is rushing toward Tingha and Old Mill. Properties are threatened.

Residents who are not prepared are being urged to evacuate to a nearby neighbourhood centre.

A third bushfire briefly closed much of the M1 Pacific Motorway south of Newcastle before fire crews managed to shift the blaze away from reaching the road.

A statewide fire ban was issued for Tuesday with temperatures tipped to reach the low-40s in some areas accompanied by high winds.

The ban has been extended to Wednesday for the state’s North West, Far North Coast, Northern Slopes and New England regions.

Parts of NSW will continue to experience very high to severe fire danger conditions, the RFS said on Twitter.

Strong winds, warm low-level temperatures and dry conditions combined with dry fuel from heatwave conditions in recent months have led to elevated fire danger, a BoM spokesman told AAP.

The fire danger will peak as maximum temperatures are recorded on Tuesday afternoon, the spokesman said.

But a southerly change should move through from the state’s south later, hitting Sydney in the early hours of Wednesday.

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