Fire crews have continued to back-burn in the Blue Mountains, hoping to starve three blazes of fuel before they can form into a huge inferno.
An emergency warning is still in place for the State Mine fire near Lithgow, and Mount Victoria, Springwood and the Southern Highlands are on a watch and act status.
Crews made progress overnight but were forced to divert their attention to saving houses, as wind-born embers threatened property with spot-fires along the Bells line of road.
Strong winds, with gusts of up to 100kmh are forecast for Wednesday, and firefighters are trying to establish containment lines ahead of the deteriorating conditions.
Hundreds of square kilometres of bushland are on fire across New South Wales, with the blazes described as the worst in a decade.
NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said while the distraction was taking up a lot of resources, crews would continue to defend residents’ homes.
“Everyone would expect us to turn our attention to protecting people’s homes and property and that’s exactly what [fire crews have] got to do, it’s taking up a lot of resources,” he said, according to The ABC.
More than 200 homes have been lost and a 63-year-old man had died from a heart attack while trying to defend his home.
The damage bill is rising sharply, with the latest figures from the Insurance Council of Australia putting it at $94 million with 855 claims made.
New South Wales premier Barry O’Farrell has declared a state of emergency which gives authorities the ability to forcibly evacuate residents, as well as demolish property, along with other increased powers.
Police have said while they hope no one needs to be moved, they are prepared to force people to leave to prevent lives being lost.
Meanwhile, an 11-year-old boy has been charged, along with a 15-year-old for lighting a fire in the Heatherbrae area near Newcastle last week.
We will have all the details as they come to hand.
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