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Extreme fire conditions set to return

Tuesday October 15, 2013 - 07:38 EDT
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NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell inspects the damage caused by a fire at Salt Ash on Sunday. - ABC
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A garage destroyed during bushfires at Salt Ash on Sunday. - ABC

Extreme fire conditions are expected to hit the Hunter again, just days after property was destroyed at Port Stephens.

Four homes and a number of sheds, boats and vehicles were destroyed in fires at Salt Ash, Fingal Bay and Heatherbrae on Sunday.

The RFS says powerlines arcing in high winds look to have started the Salt Ash fire, while the others are still being investigated.

Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons says the cooler conditions experienced yesterday are not expected to last long.

"We are expecting to see a return to another front coming through NSW on Thursday," he said.

"We'll expect to see temperatures increase and a north-westerly pattern strengthen up again ahead of that frontal activity.

"At this stage it will be very high if not greater for large tracks of NSW, probably from the Hunter, Central Coast up towards the Queensland border."

RFS crews will continue mopping-up today, ahead of the extreme weather returning.

Port Stephens RFS spokesman Stuart O'Keefe says local have a lot to do before the hot weather returns.

"Where there are areas of unburnt fuel we may still potentially see some fire so there's still a lot of work ahead for our firefighters on the ground," he said.

"They'll be insuring that a lot of this fire ground is secure before the weather heats up.

"It's certainly the trend in weather lately.

"We get high fire danger days and we get one or two days of reprieve and then they come back again.

The state government is still assessing what assistance will be given to the Port Stephens community which was impacted by bushfires at the weekend.

Emergency Services Minister Michael Gallacher says the government is assessing the damage.

"At this stage it is very early to be able to look at in terms of the magnitude of how much this is going to cost the community as well as council," he said.


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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