Emergency as town comes under ember attack from bushfire

UPDATE 2.30pm: THE town of Springwood in the Blue Mountains is now coming under ember attack, triggering a  new emergency warning from the Rural Fire Service.

The new warning is not yet visible on the RFS website, but the Sydney Morning Herald is reporting the town, about 20km west of Penrith, is coming under attack from the main fire near it as winds increase.

The closest fire to Springwood is the out-of-control Linksview Road blaze which, according to the RFS fire map, has already burned out more than 3000 hectares of land.

The Rural Fire Service website has this blaze listed as "watch and act" - one level below "emergency" - and warns the fire's intensity has increased and burning embers are now being blown towards homes in the town.

The website reports extra firefighters are being deployed to protect the town, which has already been largely evacuated.

UPDATE 12.40pm: ANYONE who sees a fire anywhere in NSW today should call 000 immediately, Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons has said.

"Do not assume that someone else is calling in that fire," he said during his second press conference of the day.

"On days like today, minutes really matter. The lightning continues. As we speak we're tracking lightning activity in the north west of NSW, places north of Bourke and down through to Walgett.

A photo posted to Twitter: Amazing photo from a friend in Katoomba on the road to Blackheath.
A photo posted to Twitter: Amazing photo from a friend in Katoomba on the road to Blackheath.



"Until we see some absolutely drought-breaking rains across these fire grounds, they are going to be susceptible to flare-up and re-ignition for many, many, many weeks."

Mr Fitzsimmons' comments come as the Rural Fire Service upgraded the fire danger rating for the Mid-North Coast to "severe", only one level below the "extreme" rating faced by the Hunter and Greater Sydney.

The Rural Fire Service has also issued an emergency warning for a scrub fire burning west of Newcastle. 

Reports out of Sydney suggest wind gusts in the Blue Mountains have been recorded at up to 90km/h with temperatures soaring past the 30C mark a couple of hours ago.

The temperature in the Blue Mountains was expected to fall by as much as 10C later today, but that fall was likely to be accompanied by continuing high winds and low humidity, making little difference to the fire threat.

Between Coffs Harbour and the Queensland border and between the coast and the New England highway, there are currently 12 fires burning, one of which is out of control and none of which are currently classed as endangering life or property.

6am: A TOTAL fire ban is in force from the Illawarra to the Queensland border as firefighters brace for what is feared could be a frightening day in the Blue Mountains.

Intense efforts to contain major blazes west of Sydney have led to the reduction in status of the State Mine fire from "emergency warning" to "watch and act".

However, the Rural Fire Service has also set the fire danger level for the Greater Sydney and Hunter regions at "extreme" - the second highest level below "catastrophic" - and the Bureau of Meteorology has this morning issued a fire weather warning covering those areas and stretching up the North Coast.

Around Sydney, the Bureau is warning of a hot, dry and windy day despite a chance of showers this morning. Temperatures where thousands of firefighters - including some from the North Coast - are battling the most dangerous fires are expected to reach into the mid-30s and winds are tipped to run at up to 50km/h.

Fairfax Media has quoted Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons saying today's weather forecast is even worse than the one firefighters had been warning about since the weekend.

"This will be as bad as it gets,'' Mr Fitzsimmons is quoted saying. ''On days like [this], there's a very real potential for more loss of homes and life."

The ABC has quoted Mr Fitzsimmons urging people to stay away from the area.

"If you don't need to be in the Blue Mountains or Hawkesbury regions, don't go there. You're not welcome," he said.

"You're not needed. Don't get in the way of what might be necessary thoroughfares for people choosing to leave, or being required to leave."

On the Northern Rivers and Mid-North Coast, where the Rural Fire Service has set the fire danger level at "very high", the Bureau is forecasting temperatures reaching towards the mid-30s in many areas, cooling on the northern coast to lows of 26 at Byron Bay and Tweed Heads.

Winds are expected to be less troublesome on the North Coast, with the Bureau tipping wind speeds of up to 35km/h on the Mid-North Coast and 30km/h for the Northern Rivers.

Salvation Army Bushfire Appeal

  • Cash, not goods, needed most
  • Call 13 SALVOS (13 72 58)
  • Visit
  • Or in person at any Westpac branch or Woolworths store
  • Woolworths matching public donations dollar for dollar for the next two weeks. 
  • Donations are tax-deductible.

Topics:  fires rural fire service

Vikings, horses, art and showbags at North Coast National

Vikings (left to right) Gabriel Hooper, Peter Romilio and Michael Rowe with a replica model of a Viking ship on display at the North Coast National Show.

PHOTO GALLERY: The iconic Lismore show is on today

Walk for human rights and refugees


Lismore will host a walk for refugees and human rights Saturday

Water main replacement means road closures

The area that will be affected by the water main replacement this weekend.

There will be a temporary road closure as a water main gets replaced

Local Partners

Finishing touches to beautify Bangalow Weir

FINAL finishes on the Bangalow Weir are underway and residents are encouraged to join an upcoming beautify planting day.

Former Split Enz front man Tim Finn finds new niche

Singer Tim Finn has written the music for theatre production Ladies in Black.

Musician finds his way to theatre

Jethro Tull is back to Bluesfest

ICONIC: Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull at Bluesfest 2011.

Jethro Tull returns to Bluesfest next April

Beth Hart will set the stage on fire

ON FIRE: Beth Hart, coming to Bluesfest 2017.

American singer/songwriter Beth Hart

Azealia Banks won't take legal action against Russell Crowe

Rapper Azealia Banks

Rapper drops legal action against Russell Crowe

Brad Pitt meets with his kids amid divorce proceedings

Actor Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt has met up with his oldest son Maddox

Pictures of Taylor Swift allegedly being groped are sealed

They could "complicate jury selection".

Bruce Springsteen finds therapy useful

Singer Bruce Springsteen

Singer encourages others to seek help

Kerry Washington wants one more child

Kerry Washington recently gave birth to her second child

Kerry has only just become a new mum again

TRAVEL: Musicals light up Sydney

David Campbell performs in Dream Lover.

We take a trip through one of Sydney's finer scenes

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track

Heavyweight enters real estate market

Des Besanko principal and director of Raine and Horne Springfield.

Major rebranding which has seen two big name brands merge