Residents warned of hazardous air quality for parts of NSW

The Sydney Morning Herald 3 weeks ago

Most NSW bushfires remain at the lowest alert level after rain fell on some fire grounds overnight, while air quality is hazardous in parts of the state.

On Saturday afternoon, 48 fires were still burning in NSW with 26 of those yet to be contained.

RFS and residents battle to stop fires destroying homes in Colo Heights earlier this week.

"Minimal backburning has been undertaken due to the fuel moisture from rain on firegrounds overnight," the Rural Fire Service (RFS) said.

One blaze near Jacky Bulbin Flat, Tullymorgan and Mororo in northern NSW was bumped up to a 'watch and act' alert about 11.40am as fire activity increased.

The fire has burnt approximately 40,500 hectares.

Nearby residents are being urged by RFS to leave and head towards Grafton or Maclean.

"Firefighters will be backburning from the highway where local conditions allow," the fire update said. "You will see an increase in smoke and flames as these operations are carried out."

Strong winds are pushing the fire near Myall Creek Road fire in Richmond Valley towards the Ashby area.

Other major fires include the one at Carrai Creek in Armidale, which has burnt out more than 221,800 hectares and is not yet under control, and Gospers Mountain in Lithgow, which is being controlled.

"Protect yourself from the heat of the fire. Wear protective clothing and footwear. Cover all exposed skin, the RFS said. "If the fire impacts, seek shelter in a solid structure to protect yourself from the heat of the fire."

Greater Sydney, the Central Coast and parts of the mid-north coast and northern NSW received some rain on Friday.

However, despite the rain the North Coast still remains "dry and windy" so the RFS said that they would be "keeping a close eye" on those areas.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Abrar Shabren said that while some firegrounds received rain, most didn't.

"[There wasn't] much reprieve or relief in the far north or north east where fires are burning but certainly in the mid-north coast we did see a good amount of showers," he said.

Thick bushfire smoke has blanketed parts of the state in recent days but air quality improved to "fair" in Sydney on Saturday morning.

However, it's still considered hazardous in the North West Slopes and Central Tablelands, and poor in the South West Slopes.

Mr Shabren said more thunderstorms and showers were expected to develop on Saturday.

"Possibly up in the north, around where the fires are we could see some thunderstorms develop today and in the next few days as well, but much of the activity will be today," he said.

Some of those thunderstorms on Saturday could be severe, he said, and there's also a change of storms developing in greater western Sydney and moving towards the coast.

AAP, Anushri Sood


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