A massive fire storm is tearing through northern New South Wales with three out-of-control blazes destroying at least eight properties. One blaze is burning at Busbys Flat, Wyan, Myrtle Creek and Rappville, near Casino. The fire has burned more than 11,800 hectares.
A second fire is burning on the northern side of the Gwydir Highway east of Jackadgery.
The third of the blazes is burning in the Long Gully Road, Drake area and is more than 70,000 hectares in size.
A fourth blaze, burning in the area of Kildare Road, Tenterfield has been downgraded from emergency level to advice level, with firefighters gaining the upper hand.
NSW Police said road closures are in place, with residents in the area of Rappville, Busby Creek, Coombell and Myrtle Creek urged to use extreme caution due to fallen power lines and trees.
An evacuation centre has been established at St Mary’s Catholic College on Canterbury Street in Casino, in response to the Busby Flats Road Fire.
Residents are able to bring small domestic animals to the centre. Larger animals can be taken to the Casino Showgrounds, Summerland Way. Camp sites are available at this location.
“Lost the bloody sheds, the house, lost everything, but might have saved the second place but everything else is gone,” one resident told 9News.
“Everything’s gone – the cars, the dozer… I just checked my dozer and it’s still sitting in the paddocks alright but everything else… nah.”
Another resident, stunned by his surroundings, was urged to “don’t look” before he was embraced.
The infernos have been driven by howling westerly winds and temperatures above 40C degrees – weather usually only experienced at the height of an Australian summer.
Nine News cameraman Matt Coble found himself stuck in the middle of one of the Rappville blaze.
“I’ve found some ground that’s a road… hopefully no one comes through,” he said.
“It’s gone black again… it’s three in the afternoon it’s pitch black.”
The RFS warns residents in the area of Rappville, Wyan, The Island, Myrtle Creek, West Bungawalbin, Wineshanty, or Mount Belmore State Forest it is now too late to leave.
“Take shelter as the fire approaches and protect yourself from the heat of the fire,” it said.
For those to the east the Summerland Way in the area of Myall Creek Rd, Neileys Lagoon Road and Bungawalbin Creek, be alert for spot fires which may threaten your property ahead of the main fire front.
Tenterfield blaze Residents in the areas of Four Mile Creek Road, Holleys Road, Mount McKenzie Road, Finnertys Road, Neagles Lane, Sunnyside Loop Road and Smiths Lane are urged to take advice from firefighters on the ground and take shelter when the fire arrives.
Sunnyside Loop Road is closed. A wind change is being experienced on the fireground, this will change the direction of the fire to head towards the New England Highway and railway line further to the north west of Tenterfield. Monitor conditions in your area.
Those in the areas of Ewingar, Broadwater Flat, Keybarbin State Forest and the Mount Belmore State Forest should take shelter as the fire approaches. Protect yourself from the heat of the fire. Residents in the roads off Kimbin-Pikapene Road in the Keybarbin State Forest and Hicks Road, Wyan Creek are urged to take shelter as the fire approaches.Gwydir Highway blaze For residents in the areas of Mount Ramornie village, Purgatory Creek, Ramornie Station Road, Willunga Road and Cattle Creek Road follow the direction of firefighters on the ground.