THE entire New England North West area will be blanketed by total fire bans on Wednesday, as fire crews battle to contain out-of-control bushfires in dangerous conditions.
Severe fire danger ratings are predicted for the Northern Slopes and North West fire zones, with a very high fire danger in place for the New England.
Late on Tuesday, a watch-and-act alert was in place for the out-of-control Ebor fire.
The blaze had burnt more than 15,000 hectares and fire activity was increasing on its south side, threatening to move closer towards properties in the area of Wooroonah and the Oaky River; as well as west towards the Wongwibinda area.
The Waterfall Way between Ebor and Wollomombi was closed.
The RFS believed the fire could merge with the Carrai Creek blaze that had already burnt more than 200,000 hectares on the tablelands, towards the coast, after fire activity started to pick up in the Styx River area.
The Moonbi fire, near Tamworth, was still being controlled on Tuesday and had burnt more than 6000 hectares. Police believe it was deliberately lit, and it remains under investigation.
The total fire ban is in place from midnight on Tuesday until midnight on Wednesday.
Two fires on the north coast could join. The Guyra Rd fire is on the northern side of Waterfall Way, and fire activity has picked up. The Carrai Creek fire has burnt around 200,000ha on the southern side. Fire activity has increased in the Styx River area. #nswrfs#nswfirespic.twitter.com/0xhU23L8tR— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) November 19, 2019
A WATCH-and-Act fire warning has been issued for the massive Guyra Road fire burning at Ebor.
The RFS has confirmed fire activity has increased on the southern side of the fire, north of Waterfall Way, in the Wooroonah and Oaky River areas.
Firefighters said the blaze is moving in a south-easterly direction towards Waterwall Way, and west towards Wongwibinda.
The fire is more than 11,580 hectares in size and spreading.
The RFS said Waterfall Way could be closed, depending on conditions.
The RFS said it has urged locals in the area of Wooroonah and the Oaky River or Ebor and Wongwibinda to monitor conditions; follow their bushfire survival plan; and know what to do if the fire threatens.
Police allege the Ebor fire was deliberately lit on Thursday by Gavin James Gardiner 51. He remains behind bars on charges of intentionally causing fire and being reckless as to its spread; as well dishonestly for gain damaging property by fire.
The New England is in the midst of a very high fire danger rating for Tuesday. Total fire bans are in place in the North West and Northern Slopes fire zones.
RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said since the start of the bushfire season some 1.6 million hectares of land has been lost - more land loss than the entire 1993/1994 season.
Firefighters are battling a firefront of some 6000km, the equivalent distance of a return Sydney-Perth trip, Mr Rogers said on Monday.
He said firefighters were "singularly focused" on preventing further loss of life and property and warned people to stay alert.
"Even though it's not a catastrophic danger [this week] it's still going to be bad fire days," Mr Rogers said.
"Tuesday and Thursday are going to be tough days."
He urged anyone who had not yet been affected by bushfires to "please use this as a wake-up call", warning them to take steps including cleaning out gutters and having a fire safety plan in place.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the past week was a reminder "the summer isn't going to be pleasant in terms of the bushfire risk".
"I ask everyone to maintain their vigilance," she said.
"While conditions have eased and we're relieved about that, there are some concerns conditions on Tuesday and Thursday in particular, and we ask people to continue to listen and watch and be aware of the alerts they might receive.
"What this has done is give a huge wake-up call to NSW. We're still in spring. "When temperatures rise in summer, we know that conditions are going to worsen."