A community has been evacuated in the face of an emergency-level fire burning to the east of Glen Innes near Mt Mitchell this afternoon.
The NSW Rural Fire Service ordered the community of Aqua Park to evacuate earlier this afternoon after the out-of-control Crown Mountain bushfire took off over the Sara river around 4.00pm. The blaze has since been downgraded to Watch and Act level.
Residents were urged to leave the area by Mt Mitchell Road and travel to Glen Innes, where an evacuation centre has been established at the showgrounds to house them until it's safe to return.
The Crown Mountain bush fire is burning in the area of the Warra State Forest. It has burned more than 8000 hectares, and is being controlled.
An RFS spokesman said it's unlikely conditions will improve sufficiently to allow them to return home before tomorrow.
He told the Glen Innes Examiner there are unconfirmed reports of damage to buildings in the area. The fire service has deployed 15 trucks, three aircraft, and two bulldozers to battle the blaze.
Properties in the vicinity of Carrot Road Farm, Deepwater, are also under a Watch and Act alert.
There is also fire activity at Mount Spirabo in Washpool National Park, approximately 2km north east of Coxs Road, and two out of control fires are burning near Thunderbolts Way, Yarrowyck.
Lightning strikes in the last 24 hours have sparked fires all over the region, with seven new blazes on Tuesday and around a dozen today in the New England North West region.
Thursday will be a difficult day for the RFS: severe fire danger is forecast due to expected warmer conditions and hot, strong westerly winds. There is a total fire ban in the area.
"That's certainly going to create issues with the new fires that have started," the RFS spokesman said.
"That's been the issue with us for this fire season; lightning storms come through and start new fires, followed up by quite dry conditions."
The spokesman strongly encouraged residents to stay up to date with the Fires Near Me app, and to call RFS (1800 679 737) if they sight flames that are not attended to by an emergency services vehicle.
Conditions are expected to ease over the next few days.
- Prepare your property and your family for fires now.
- Remain alert to the fire situation. Remember conditions can rapidly change.
- Consider what your bushfire survival plan is for your pets and livestock.
- If you are in an area that has already been affected by fire, there may be small areas of active fire burning for some time. Beware of trees and branches falling.
- Updates on this fire and fire danger ratings are available at https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/ or by calling 1800 NSW RFS (1800 679 737).
- For information on road conditions or closures, visit https://www.livetraffic.com/desktop.html. Roads may be closed without warning.
- For information on closures of National Parks associated with these fires, visit https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/
- State Forests in the area remain closed to the public.
- If you need to report a new fire or require urgent assistance, call Triple Zero (000).