Strong winds are quickly fanning a bushfire towards the NSW tourist town of Bermagui as fire crews battle 100 blazes across the state.
Extreme fire danger ratings are in place for Sydney and the Hunter on Tuesday, as well as a swathe of the state’s interior, stretching from the lower central-west plains to the Queensland border.
Temperatures reached 37.2C at Sydney Airport about 2.30pm on Tuesday, with the city centre, Penrith, Gosford and Nowra all cracking 35C.
Those highs are as much as 15C above the October average maximum temperatures for the same locations.
The hot conditions sparked dozens of new fires across the state on Tuesday afternoon, including one that’s heading towards Bermagui on the south coast during the busy school holiday period.
The rapid move east led to an emergency warning for the popular holiday town as well as Cuttagee and Barragga Bay over fears it could claim homes.
The NSW Rural Fire Service said it was now too late for residents to leave and they should seek shelter inside a solid structure.
The same message was issued for a south-moving fire in bushland near Abernethy in the Cessnock region.
The emergency warnings are among the first issued for this bushfire season, which is expected to be the worst since the 2019/20 Black Summer.
At 2.30pm, more than 100 fires were burning statewide, including 24 out of control.
It comes after some buildings and stock were destroyed by a fast-moving grass fire in the north of Mudgee in the central west on Monday afternoon .
Premier Chris Minns said forecasts of a “horrific” bushfire season was one of the things that kept him up at night.
“I don’t want anybody to get over-confident – this could be a really tough bushfire season,” he said.
RFS spokesman Ben Shepherd earlier said concerning fires continued to burn in areas like the Snowy-Monaro region, where a 420ha bushfire was out of control near Bredbo.
Peak wind gusts of up to 100km/h were forecast, which would “push those fires along very, very quickly”, he told ABC radio.
“We could see some rain in parts of NSW maybe later on in the week, but while it remains this hot and this windy we’ve got that elevated fire risk for most of NSW,” he said.
NSW FIRE DANGER
Extreme: Greater Hunter*, Greater Sydney*, far south coast*, north western*, upper central-west plains*.
High: far north coast, north coast, Illawarra/Shoalhaven, Monaro alpine, southern ranges, central ranges*, New England, northern slopes*, lower central-west plains*, northern Riverina, far-western.
*denotes total fire ban