A massive bushfire in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales could burn for another month, as fire crews work on strategies to contain it.
Conditions have eased overnight and the fire, in the Wollemi National Park and Putty State Forest near Singleton, has been downgraded to an Advice Alert Level, after burning through almost 7,000 hectares.
Hot conditions are expected again today, with total fire bans in place for five regions across New South Wales.
Rural Fire Service Inspector Ben Shepherd said smoke and embers still presented a risk.
“It is quite an enormous fire now and it is burning in a remote area,” he said.
“With no significant rain on the forecast, they are now indicating this fire could burn up to a month. So crews will concentrate … on identifying those containment lines, working behind properties along Putty Valley Road.”
Ground crews and waterbombing aircraft were battling the blaze, which was burning in difficult terrain and throwing embers kilometres ahead on Wednesday.
Inspector Shepherd said crews were relieved by a change in conditions overnight.
“We finally saw conditions ease around 2:00am,” he said.
“There will be a lot of work to do today as crews go to identify possible containment strategies.”
The Bureau of Meteorology said a cold front was expected to cross the state today, but hot and dry west to north-westerly winds were forecast before then, bringing “severe fire danger”.
There are total fire bans in place today for the following NSW regions:
- Illawarra/Shoalhaven – Kiama, Shellharbour, Shoalhaven, Wingecarribee, Wollondilly, Wollongong
- Southern Ranges – Goulburn Mulwaree, Upper Lachlan, Yass Valley, Queanbeyan-Palerang
- Central Ranges – Bathurst, Blayney, Cabonne, Cowra, Lithgow, Mid-Western, Oberon, Orange
- North Western – Moree Plains, Narrabri, Walgett, Warrumbungle
- Northern Slopes – Gunnedah, Gwydir, Inverell, Liverpool Plains, Tamworth
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