'Gobsmacked': 600 firefighters battle winter bushfires in NSW

Australia bushfire

Australia bushfire

Blazes on the NSW south coast at Mount Kingiman and North Nowra, which threatened homes on Wednesday, have been downgraded amid cooler and calmer conditions but hundreds of firefighters remain on scene. Although the Clarence Valley fire at Bristol Arms Road is burning close to some properties, they are not now under threat.

Almost 80 fires continue to burn along the Great Dividing Range from the Queensland border to Victoria, with 32 still uncontained.

The RFS was expecting weather conditions across Sydney and the southern parts of the state to be cooler and less windy on Thursday, with temperatures to reach a high of 21 degrees in the city and 19 in Wollongong.

Efforts were focussed instead on fires burning on the state's north coast.

The NSW Rural Fire Service has completed the first stage of property assessments following the fire, which has burnt through more than 3,300 hectares and is still out of control.

A 300-hectare fire burns out of control at Bemboka.

The NSW Rural Fire Service on Wednesday issued an emergency warning first for a fire near Ulladulla and another further north, in North Nowra, with some residents being told it is "too late to leave".

No homes have been destroyed in any of the fires.

Earlier, dozens of fire trucks lined streets as people covered their faces at Bomaderry, near Nowra, as they tried to avoid breathing the plumes of smoke that were rising above homes.

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"We're seeing something which is unusual in the extreme", he said.

Environmental change academic David Bowman said global warming meant the northern and southern hemisphere fire seasons were overlapping, which was stretching global firefighting resources.

Firefighters have worked overnight on 79 bushfires across NSW, with 32 burning uncontained.

Two other fires - in Budawang National Park near Ulladulla and Nowra - also contributed to a hectic day for crews.

Proactive fire prevention had suffered a lack of government funding, the La Trobe University researcher said.

RFS Inspector Ben Shepherd said the fire is now under watch and act, and property owners near the area need to follow the advice of firefighters and enact their bushfire survival plan.

"We should see winds easing in the evening but we've still got a few hours to go yet".

Mr Rogers said the drought was making a huge difference for firefighters.

Ms Curran said the ground near Milton is "dry as, it's crunchy underfoot". "It's only been three months since the last fire we had in Holsworthy in April".

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