FIRE permits are suspended at least until noon today across three Rural Fire Service (RFS) zones, with five bushfires, some burning out of control, continuing to cause major concern in the New England RFS zone.
Fire permits are suspended until noon in the Liverpool Range RFS zone (covering the Upper Hunter, Gunnedah and Liverpool Plains Shire council areas); the New England RFS zone (Armidale-Dumaresq, Guyra, Uralla and Walcha Shire council areas) and until midnight in the Tamworth RFS zone (Tamworth Regional Council area).
There was a total fire ban declared on Saturday but not yesterday or all three zones.
Two massive bushfires in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park were basically running unchecked yesterday because of adverse firefighting conditions, incident controller for the New England bushfire emergency, Allyn Purkiss, said.
Mr Purkiss said the two section 44-declared fires one named Freds Creek and the other Georges Junction were likely to join up yesterday and burn out a total of 30,000 hectares in the coming weeks.
"They took a big run under strong winds (on Saturday)," Mr Purkiss said.
The fires had started after landholder burns had got away, he said.
The Armidale-Kempsey Rd is closed at Lower Creek.
Oxley Wild Rivers National Park has been shut to the public by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
The fire named Freds Creek, which started on October 12, had burnt out 3189 hectares and was crowning at 4am yesterday, with flames jumping from treetop to treetop.
"It means it's very uncontrollable very dangerous conditions," Mr Purkiss said yesterday.
The RFS had been unable to aerial-bomb the fires because of gusty winds.
Mr Purkiss described it as "nigh-on impossible" to water-bomb in those conditions.
Instead, RFS volunteers had concentrated on saving property.
He said it was hard to tell how many homes and remote-area shacks might be affected.
"We're still trying to come to terms with that. We could have up to 50 in the area: there are shacks all through this country," he said.
Mr Purkiss said the other fire, Georges Junction, had already burnt out 14,000 hectares.
He said conditions in the New England RFS zone were "fairly similar" to strong, gusty winds on Saturday.
"The forecast is for 50km/h winds by late afternoon," Mr Purkiss said.
No homes had been lost in either fire yet.
"None that we know of," he said.
The RFS was doing a "fairly extensive reconnaissance of the area", he said.
Three other fires one about 40km east of Guyra, one near Walcha and one near Ebor had also started since Friday.
The Guyra fire, which started on Saturday, was located in the Mt Mulligan/Wards Mistake area.
Locals had alerted the RFS to the fire, which was in "very remote country ... it's difficult to get to no roads, no trails", Mr Purkiss said.
"I've tasked an aircraft to get out there today and map it and give us some intel (intelligence)," he said.
No properties were under threat: it was burning in scrub.
Mr Purkiss said he was "not sure" how much land had been burnt out he would have to wait for information provided by the aircraft crew.
The Walcha fire, called Panhandle and in the Enfield State Forest, had burnt out five hectares by the time it was contained by mid-afternoon on Saturday.
The Ebor-area fire was located "in an area we can't get to", Mr Purkiss said.
"We're flying to map it today," he said yesterday.
It had also burnt out five hectares.
"Local landholders and Ebor RFS assisted in containing it," he said.
Mr Purkiss said the New England RFS zone was unlikely to lift its suspension of fire permits today.
"While ever we have a bushfire emergency like this going, all permits are suspended we're already dealing with enough fires, so we don't need any more mistakes giving us grief than we already have," he said.
Mr Purkiss said this season had already started to play out differently compared to the past three years.
In the past three fire seasons, rain had usually come along and helped extinguish any fires but this season was different, with many more periods of extended dry weather.
"In talking to the local staff, they say that this (Georges Junction) is the largest fire they have had since 2009," Mr Purkiss said.
"We're working hard to get it done.
"We thank the volunteers and employers for allowing us to fight these very large fires."
Tamworth RFS spokesman Inspector Steve Geddes said there were no fires in that zone and better weather conditions had helped yesterday.
"Conditions are really benign compared to yesterday the winds have died, it's more humid and temperatures are lower," Inspector Geddes said.
But he said the RFS was keeping an eye out.
"Some of our brigades stood themselves up at their stations," he said.
"Out at Nundle, State Forests, because of forecast conditions, they put a man up in the fire-tower area he can see 50km in all directions.
"Three of their units are doing roving patrols and ... had a few people extinguish their campfires."