NSW Bushfires: Greta and North Rothbury fires downgraded after homes threatened

HUNTER bushfires remain at Advice level on Wednesday morning after several emergency warnings in catastrophic conditions on Tuesday.

Firefighters had brought the blazes to heel overnight after they threatened several homes.

That compares with three lives lost and 950 firefighters on front lines across the state.

The NSW Rural Fire Service said early reports indicated at least 50 homes had been damaged or destroyed.

Nineteen fires reached the emergency alert level, with 16 at once at the peak of the day, and more than 1.1 million hectares have already been burned.

More than a dozen firefighters suffered injuries on Tuesday across the state, NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said on Wednesday, but none were life-threatening.

Mr Fitzsimmons said smoke in parts of the state had acted as an insulator, reducing the duration of catastrophic conditions.

Despite that slight advantage, Mr Fitzsimmons said volatility and turbulence had forced the "extraordinary tool" or water-bombing aircraft to be grounded from time to time.

"Pleasingly, no-one has sustained life-threatening injuries .. and we've got no people unaccounted for," Mr Fitzsimmons said early Wednesday morning.

He said fire conditions had improved for Wednesday, but there was still an "enormous amount of hectares of fires burning".

"It's going to be a long effort yet, many days, many weeks and indeed many months if we don't get rain before we properly bring these fires under control, establish consolidation and declare them safe," Mr Fitzsimmons said.

"That's where we're up to at the moment.

"Conditions are easing, but there's a mountain of work ahead of us."

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was relieved that the state had "withstood the catastrophic conditions" and paid tribute to firefighters' efforts as a "great example of wonderful teamwork".

"Whilst we are not over the threat yet, we are through what was yesterday catastrophic weather conditions," she said.

"Unfortunately what we experienced yesterday is becoming a more frequent occurrence ... we haven't yet hit summer.

"The fact that no-one lost their life yesterday is truly amazing.

Rothbury and Greta fires that reached emergency levels on Tuesday were at advice level Wednesday morning.

Putty Road remains closed between Colo Heights and Milbrodale. Residents are allowed to exit the area only and will not be allowed in, the NSW RFS said on Wednesday morning.

The Pacific Highway remained shut between Bulahdelah and Taree until this morning.

The New England Highway has also re-opened at Whittingham, near Singleton, but remains closed between Moonbi and Bendemeer.

Public transport

  • All XPT services will be suspended until Wednesday evening.
  • Sydney to Brisbane service cancelled today.
  • No Freight services running today
  • Express coaches will continue to operate from Casino to Wauchope (subject to road closures)
  • Replacement busing still in operation from Maitland to Scone
  • ARTC has closed the line from Muswellbrook to Singleton
  • Brisbane service not running today
  • No coach services for passengers between Taree and Sydney
  • Passenger shuttle between Casino and Wauchope
  • Latest information on public transport - www.transportnsw.info or call 131 500

Motorists are still advised to avoid all non-essential travel with other road closures still in place:

  • The Oxley Highway remains closed between Walcha and Wauchope.
  • The Gwydir Highway is still closed between Bald Nob, east of Glen Innes, and Eatonsville, west of Grafton.
  • Thunderbolts Way is closed in both directions between Nowendoc and Barrington Village.
  • The Lakes Way is closed between the Pacific Highway and Failford Road
  • Lower Creek to Yarravel - Kempsey Road (Armidale Road) is closed
  • Clouds Creek to Coutts Crossing - Armidale Road is closed
  • Between Krambach and Purfleet - The Bucketts Way is closed
  • At South Taree - Saltwater Road is closed between Old Bar Road and Wallabi Point
  • Rainbow Flat - Godfrey Hill Road is closed between the Pacific Highway and The Lakes Way
  • Nowendoc to Knorrit Flat - Nowendoc Road is closed in both directions
  • Crowdy Head to Harrington - Crowdy Head Road is closed
  • Telegraph Point - Red Hill Road is closed from Rollands Plains Road and Cooperabung Range Road
  • Upper Fine Flower - Clarence Way is closed between Carnham and Baryugil
  • Buccarumbi to Bald Nob - Old Glen Innes Road and Old Grafton Road are closed between Buccarumbi Bridge (near Cunglebung Road) and the Gwydir Highway