Dudley/Redhead fire downgraded to 'watch and act'Wednesday October 23, 2013 - 22:04 EDT
A fire burning in the Lake Macquarie suburbs of Dudley and Redhead has been downgraded to 'watch and act' because of easing weather conditions.
The blaze in the Awabakal Nature Reserve has burnt out around 90 hectares of bush, and is moving in an easterly direction between Dudley and Redhead.
Crews are undertaking backburning operations and smoke may affect areas around Bennetts Green industrial area, Bulls Garden Road, and streets in and around Whitebridge.
The Rural Fire Service says crews are working quickly in both suburbs to put out any new outbreaks that flare up because of spot fires.
Rural Fire Service spokesman Steve Raymond says southeasterly winds have reached the fireground.
"Been able to downgrade the fire from an emergency alert to a watch and act," he said.
"So that means we're getting in some containment lines.
"Fire activity has certainly decreased and we're working to bring this fire under control.
"We've got some small backburning plans but at this stage we're letting the fire come out slowly."
RFS spokesman Stuart O'Keefe says fortunately no homes are under threat.
"Some people chose to relocate early," he said.
"There was a lot of fire activity in particular around Boundary Street and Gardner Street at Dudley, and some people may have been asked to relocate and that sort of gets interpreted as an evacuation, but certainly no forced evacuations.
"And a lot of people are very responsible.
"They do take the advice of firefighters."
Redhead resident Matt Hatten left his home this afternoon after advice from police.
He has since returned and says he is feeling a lot more relaxed.
"I'm feeling a little bit better this evening as the fire seems to be moving away from where I am," he said.
"So the frayed nerves are starting to settle a little bit.
"I'm right across the road from the Awabakal (Nature Reserve) so I can still see plenty of smoke, but it looks like it's moving away from me so that's reassuring."
© ABC 2013
More breaking news
Thunderstorms have flared up again over Queensland, with stormy skies likely to be a daily occurrence over the next week.
Fresh haystacks are exploding into flames across Victoria and South Australia and experts are warning it could be the start of a disastrous season.
One of Australia's most renowned pipe and drum bands will end an ambitious tour this weekend with a renewed understanding of how rural Queenslanders are dealing with drought.