More homes are threatened after an out-of-control bushfire burned through to the coast in southern New South Wales as thick smoke from blazes surrounding Sydney continues to blanket the city.
The more than 30,000-hectare Currowan bushfire near Batemans Bay on the state’s south coast has already destroyed at least one home.
The NSW Rural Fire Service says the blaze is spreading quickly towards coastal areas around Pebbly Beach, Depot Beach and Pretty Beach.
“The fire has reached the coast in some areas,” the RFS said on Tuesday evening.
“Firefighters and aircraft are working to protect homes where possible.”
Residents in the Kioloa, Pretty Beach, Pebbly Beach, Depot Beach and Durras North areas have been told to seek shelter because it’s too late to leave.
The Princes Highway between Dolphin Point and Batemans Bay has been closed in both directions.
An emergency notice has been issued for an out-of-control bushfire in Forrestdale, south-east of Perth in Western Australia on Tuesday evening.
There is an immediate threat to lives and homes and residents must act immediately.
The notice has been issued for an area between Armadale Road, Tonkin Highway, Oxley Road, Commercial Road and Weld Street.
Residents are being urged to leave now for a safer place if the way is clear, or prepare to shelter in their homes in a room with two exits and water such as a kitchen or laundry.
Some 111 bush and grass fires were burning across NSW on Tuesday evening with more than 54 uncontained.
One property west of the town of Kioloa has been confirmed destroyed by the Currowan fire, but it is currently too dangerous for authorities to carry out further damage assessments.
“We do have some early indications of property being lost or impacted to the west of the area of Kioloa, largely where the fire crossed the Clyde river there yesterday,” RFS commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told the Seven Network earlier on Tuesday.
“Unfortunately there’s still a lot of very active fire edge on this fire.
“Conditions could certainly change if we see the winds influence fire behaviour on that again.”
Emergency warnings were in place at 6.30pm for the Currowan fire. An emergency warning for a 200-hectare bushfire at Pelaw Main east of Cessnock in the Hunter region was downgraded to watch adn act on Tuesday evening.
Residents living on Avery Lane in the suburb of Stanford Merthyr were earlier told to seek shelter from the fire and it was too late to leave.
“The fire has escalated quite quickly,” an RFS spokesman said.
“It’s moving in an easterly direction towards Avery Lane.”
A fire near Cranebrook in western Sydney was also downgraded to “advice” level after an emergency alert was issued briefly on Tuesday afternoon.
Watch and act alerts remained in place for fires near Warragamba Dam, Wisemans Ferry, the Yengo National Park and Putty.
Sydney was ringed by bushfires on Tuesday with thick smoke settling in the city’s basin.
The haze blanketing Sydney is being blown from large bushfires in the Blue Mountains, near Warragamba dam and in the Hawkesbury area.
Air quality was “hazardous” in Sydney’s east and southwest on Tuesday afternoon but “good” in the city’s northwest.
Fitzsimmons said a “temperature inversion” had trapped the smoke in the Sydney basin and the haze was unlikely to lift in the short term.
“All those fires and some a little further afield are all impacting on the smoke inundation around the Sydney basin,” he said.
“There’s a general westerly pattern to a lot of these winds that’s going to continue to bring smoke right across the Sydney basin, and if we get another inversion effect like we saw this morning, some of that will get trapped.”
On Monday NSW police expressed concerns about the number of people deliberately lighting fires amid increased risk.
Lake Illawarra Insp Brian Pedersen said it was distressing to see people ignoring the warnings of emergency services. Police spoke to three 12-year-old boys after two fires were deliberately lit in the Lake Illawarra region at the weekend.
“We are urging the whole community to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour,” Pedersen said.
Two million hectares of NSW land have burned since July in more than 7,000 fires, with authorities calling it the “most challenging bushfire season ever”.
Six people have died and 673 homes have been destroyed.
NSW Health said children, older adults and people with heart and lung conditions were the most susceptible to smoke and air pollution.
“If you have asthma or a lung condition, reduce outdoor activities if smoke levels are high and if shortness of breath or coughing develops, take your reliever medicine or seek medical advice,” it said.
A strong wind warning was in place for the Hunter, Illawarra and far south coast, and smoke haze was forecast for much of the state, in particular the Sydney, Hunter, mid north coast and northern rivers regions.
Heavy smoke haze was also affecting the Bruce Highway at Colosseum in Queensland.
The fire danger rating was classed as severe in parts of southern Queensland, with dry and windy conditions making conditions hazardous for firefighters.
Temperatures were expected to reach 40C in areas such as the Lockyer Valley and Scenic Rim by the end of the week.
The Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast could experience temperatures of 35C, while in Brisbane it could reach 37C on Friday.
Australian Associated Press contributed to this report