FIREFIGHTERS have battled through the night to try to bring a Uralla blaze under control.
The fire started on Melrose Road, west of Walcha and spread quickly under strong and gusty winds.
It has since burnt through 2000 hectares of bush land in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, with fire activity decreasing early yesterday evening as conditions eased.
“The fire is still uncontained, it’s still burning in heavy fuel loads and inaccessible country,” Armidale Rural Fire Service inspector Tim Butcher said.
“The cause is yet to be determined but there’s a lot of smoke, it’s been blowing under westerly winds heading towards the coast and Lower Creek.”
At least 50 firefighters are on scene with two bulldozers, a grader and three aircraft to fight the fire.
With variable south-west winds there is a chance the fire could go further north towards Wollomombi or Armidale.
Fires of this size have the potential to spread quickly if left unchecked Mr Butcher said.
“Within the broader area there’s a number of properties that could come under threat in the next 48 hours,” he said.
“Under strong westerly winds the fire took a run for five kilometres in about an hour, it’s spread really, really quickly and that’s the danger with these fires – while they’re in remote country the potential to spread is extreme.”
Relentless wind conditions made it harder to bring the blaze under control, but firefighters have been diligently back-burning in an attempt to control the fire and build containment lines and will today use aircraft to water bomb the blaze.
Residents in the Long Point Road area at Hillgrove are being advised to monitor conditions and take advice from firefighters.