WORSENING conditions, coupled with high temperatures, have forced the NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) to lift the level of the Kerry Ridge bushfire to "emergency warning" on Thursday evening.
The blaze, located within the Muswellbrook, Singleton and Mid-Western LGAs, is burning in the Wollemi National Park, Putty State Forest and Coricudgy State Forest.
It's now more than 81,000 hectares in size and is out of control.
However, 40-degree heat on December 19 intensified the situation for local firefighters.
"While the fire continues to burn in the national park and neighbouring state forests, it's also increasing in the area of Olinda and Nullo Mountain," a NSW RFS spokesperson said.
"Embers are starting spot fires ahead of the main fire front.
"It is continuing to spread slowly toward isolated rural properties north of The Ovens and Bin Ben, as well as areas of Gum Tree Hole and Kindarun.
"Due to the rugged terrain, this fire continues to burn to the north.
"The Paddock Run fire is burning to the south in the Kindarun area, too.
"Unfortunately, these fires may merge over the coming days as the conditions are forecast to deteriorate again on Saturday."
Meanwhile, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced a State of Emergency on Thursday.
- If you are in the area of Olinda, Nullo Mountain and Bogee, it is too late to leave. Seek shelter as the fire approaches. Protect yourself from the heat of the fire.
- If you are in the Howes Valley, this area may come under threat. Monitor the changing conditions and know what you will do if the fire threatens.
- If you are in the area of Gum Tree Hole and Kindarun Mountain, monitor conditions.
- Check and follow your bush fire survival plan. If you do not have a plan, know what you will do if the fire threatens.
- Leaving early is your safest option.
If you are threatened by fire
- Do not be in the path of the fire.
- Protect yourself from the heat of the fire. Wear protective clothing and footwear. Cover all exposed skin.
- If the fire impacts, seek shelter in a solid structure to protect yourself from the heat of the fire.
- If your life is at risk, call Triple Zero (000).
- If you are in an area that has already been affected by fire, there may be small areas of active fire burning for some time. Be aware of the dangers of trees and branches falling.
- For a list of evacuation centres visit Disaster Assistance.
- People are encouraged to register online at Register Find Reunite before attending evacuation centres.
- For a list of school closures visit Department of Education.
- Stay up to date on bush fires in your area by checking the NSW RFS website, listening to your local radio station, or by calling the NSW RFS Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737.
- People with respiratory conditions who are affected by bush fire smoke should activate their health management plan and seek medical advice if necessary. Take precautions, such as staying indoors and closing windows.
- For information on road closures, check Live Traffic NSW. Roads may be closed without warning.
- Monitor weather conditions and weather warnings at Bureau of Meteorology.