Dorrigo has rallied to support people fleeing the Bees Nest fires near Armidale that have burned about 60,000 hectares of forest and farm land so far.
The RFS says it could take up to a month to contain the blaze.
Local volunteers led by Margaret Harrison and Kymbalee Tarran set up an emergency evacuation centre at the Dorrigo Showground on Saturday after the fires bore down on the nearby villages of Tyringham, Dundurrabin and Bostobrick.
Appeals for food, clothing and personal necessities went out via social media and so much was received that by 11am on Sunday people were being told to hold off bringing any more.
Margaret said the centre accommodated about 25 evacuees on Saturday night.
"We fed them and told them they could go over to the Seventh Day Adventist Hall which we had set up with mattresses," she said.
Firefighters, many of whom have come from other areas, are also using the facilities at the showground.
However, some people had to make their own arrangements when they needed to evacuate in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Residents told evacuate
Niomi Lettice and Mathew Duckett from Dundurrabin were told on Friday night that the fire was out of control and the wind could be sending it in their direction.
With their two-year-old son Thomas and five dogs they left their property at 1.30am.
"Everyone gathered at the fire station at Tyringham," Niomi said. "We slept in the car."
The next morning they tried the Dorrigo Showground, but found no one there so they spent Saturday night in a motel.
On Sunday, to their great relief, they heard their house was still standing, but with the fire still burning and roads into and out of Dundurrabin still closed, they are not able to return.
The family were among about 150 people who gathered at the showground for a community information session about the Bees Nest bushfire on Sunday afternoon.
Although it was supposed to be a chance for residents to ask questions of the Incident Management Team, the people giving the briefing had come up from Kempsey and were unable to add much to the information already publicly available online.
Ruth Allsopp from the Lower North Coast RFS began by reading a bulletin about the fire situation.
"I'll read out what I was given at 9am, but it's nothing that you don't know," she said.
She noted that the Bees Nest fire was first reported on August 31.
"It's thought to have been ignited by a lightning strike in the Guy Fawkes National Park," she said. "The fire was initially managed by the NPWS before coming under a Section 44 Declaration Thursday 5 September, when a multi-agency incident management team was formed ahead of forecast extreme fire weather on Friday 6 September."
Bees Nest doubled in size on Friday night and on Saturday it was at Emergency Warning level, with a large spot fire in the Muldiva State Forest burning towards Tyringham Rd, Bostobrick.
Ruth said that on Saturday, embers were being blown up to 12km ahead of the fire in some places.
Conditions eased a little on Saturday night and the fire was set to 'Watch and Act' but is still listed as out of control.
A person at the community meeting said graders were going around the village of Dundurrabin building fire breaks and that letterboxes of properties known to be evacuated were being marked with tape.
Representatives from various charities and agencies, including the Salvation Army, Lifehouse Church and the NSW Department of Communities and Justice were at the meeting to advise people about assistance available.
North Coast Local Land Services were also there, and they have set up an area at the showground for pets belonging to evacuees.
"They've done tags for all the animals and they've got cages and food," Niomi said, adding that four of their dogs were there while the other was at a friend's place.
- An evacuation centre is open at Dorrigo Showground at 4180 Waterfall Way, Dorrigo.
- Smoke from this fire may be affecting the areas of Dorrigo and Coffs Harbour.
- If your life is at risk, call Triple Zero (000) immediately.
- Continue to stay up to date with the bush fire situation by checking http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au, listening to your local radio station or by calling the NSW RFS Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737.
- For information on road closures, check http://livetraffic.rta.nsw.gov.au. Roads may be closed without warning.