NSW Firefighters Battle 'Mega Blaze' As Three Fires Merge Into One
NSW firefighters are battling a mammoth wall of flames after three bushfires merged into one in the Hawkesbury region on Friday.
As Friday night, six fires across the state are at emergency level, with more than 100 in total burning statewide.
More than half of those are still out of control.
Fires at Paddock Run, the Yengo National Park and Gospers Mountain in the Lower Hunter have joined together, creating what's been described as a "mega blaze".
The three bushfires have destroyed ten homes and blackened close to 300,000 hectares of land. An emergency warning has been issued in the region.
Around 500 homes are without power in the Shoalhaven, Wollondilly and Hawkesbury regions, with Endeavour Energy saying fires destroyed and damaged powerlines. Some homes may be without power until Tuesday.
The mega-fire is one of more than 100 blazes threatening homes and lives across the state.
“We literally have fires of concern from the Queensland border, all the way down the ranges and the coast, to the southern border,” RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said on Friday morning.
Fires are burning at emergency level at Bangala Creek, Carrai East and Green Wattle Creek, as well as the three at Gospers Mountain and another nearby at Kerry Ridge in the Goulburn River National Park.
More than 680 homes have been destroyed in NSW alone this fire season, hundreds of others have been damaged.
There are fears that number could skyrocket this summer.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian acknowledged that it was a "scary time" for many and urged all residents to remain vigilant.
"We have seen the fire is coming to very close proximity to major population centres whether it is on the south coast, Central Coast, or even greater western Sydney," she said.
"We know there have been some property losses, the extent of which won't be known until the fire conditions are safe for people to go in and have a look, but we also appreciate that many families and many people have been asked to leave their homes."
A total fire ban has been declared in 10 areas across NSW where the fire danger sits at "severe".
Three firefighters were injured in battle on Thursday. All were flown for treatment and are expected to make a full recovery.
It's understood a member of the public also suffered serious burns.
Sydney remains blanketed by a thick layer of smoke.
The Bureau of Meteorology confirmed that the smoke haze will persist through Friday but should improve slightly over the weekend.
Anyone with respiratory issues is being urged to be on high alert and avoid strenuous physical activity.
There doesn't appear to be an end in sight to the bushfire crisis.
While light winds are expected across the east coast this afternoon, there is little chance of rain relief.
“We’ve still got months ahead of challenge and the only forecast for rain is late January to early February of any meaningful substance," Fitzsimmons said.