BEFORE & AFTER: Where lightning started 7 new fires
DRY lightning last night has started at least seven new fires within the Long Gully Road Fire area, putting even more pressure on fire-fighters battling to protect life and property.
Firefighters were hoping the predicted cold front would bring enough rain to help them control the still blazing Long Gully Road Fire which had roared through more than 64,000ha.
Rural Fire Services spokesman James Morris said the cool change which rolled through the region was more of a hindrance than a help in containing the fire which has now scorched thousand of ha and continues to burn around the tiny village of Drake.
The fire is also burning around Tabulam and the Bruxner Highway is currently closed on either side of Drake from Bruxner Road to the eat and Sandy Point Road to the west.
"We have seen the change move up the coast bringing significant rain although less than 4mm fell across the main fire-ground of the Long Gully Road Fire," he said.
"But it did bring some significant dry lightning with at least seven new fires starting east of Tenterfield and Armidale, unfortunately.
"We only know of seven and as there were plenty more lightning strikes which made ground contact it may be days before we know exactly how many there are."
Mr Morris said RFS detection flights will continue to monitor the area over coming days to discover if ignitions do take hold.
And he said due to complexities of weather and topography, it could be weeks, if not months before the fire is completely controlled, let alone fully extinguished.
"Given the size and fire activity on the ground, it will be a significant time until it is under control," he said.
"If we don't have rain it could bee weeks or months."
The RFS is continuing to rotate out of area strike teams through the fire to allow exhausted local crews time to recover.
"We are running aviation support strike teams from the south coast Sydney, regions west and from the North Coast, Mr Morris said.
"Heavy plant machinery is part of the efforts and we are throwing all we can to bring the fire under control as soon as possible."
Storm cells moved across the fireground yesterday afternoon.
Lightning strikes were detected across the area and a number of new fires have been reported.
Make sure you report any unattended fires to Triple Zero (000) immediately.
Although there was some rainfall across the fireground it has not been enough to extinguish the fire.
The fire continues to burn on northern side of the township of Drake, near Red Rock Road and Rover Park.
The southern edge of the fire continues to burn in the area of Poverty Point, Surface Hill and Sandy Creek area.
The Bruxner Highway is currently closed in some locations. Check Live Traffic for updates.
Firefighters will continue to conduct backburns as conditions allow. People will notice an increase of smoke and fire activity as these burns are undertaken.
Residents in the areas of Drake, Red Rock Road and Rover Park, follow your bush fire survival plan and ensure you know what you will do if conditions change.
If you are in the area of Ewingar, Sandy Place, Tilbaroo and areas on the western side of the Clarence River, follow your bush fire survival plan and ensure you know what you will do if conditions change.
People in areas on the eastern side of the Clarence River should monitor conditions closely. Ensure you know what you will do if the fire impacts on your property.
If you live in the area but are away from your home, it may not be safe to return to your property.
Drake primary school will be closed Wednesday 18 September.
Tabulam Public School will be open Wednesday 18 September.
A Disaster Assistance Point will be open at Drake Information Centre, Fairfield Street, Drake between 1:00pm and 4:00pm throughout Monday to Friday.
Tenterfield Disaster Assistance will be open at Tenterfield Council Chambers from 9:00am to 5:00pm throughout Monday to Friday.
You can register your details prior to visiting the Evacuation Centre. Visit the Register Find Reunite site at https://register.redcross.org.au and register for the 'Bushfire in Tenterfield'.
If your life is at risk, call Triple Zero (000) immediately.
Continue to stay up to date with the bush fire situation by checking http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au, listening to your local radio station or by calling the NSW RFS Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737.
For information on road closures, check http://livetraffic.rta.nsw.gov.au. Roads may be closed without warning.