LIVE UPDATES: Southerly change has hit the fire front

The Liberation Trail fire is the main concern for firefighters on the Coffs Coast, it is currently in 'out of control' status.
The Liberation Trail fire is the main concern for firefighters on the Coffs Coast, it is currently in 'out of control' status.

 

10PM: The NSW Rural Service has advised that as of 9.20pm, the Liberation Trail fire is burning in a south-easterly direction and conditions have abated. 

Driven by northerly winds the fire has been spotting over 1km ahead of the main front.

Into the evening winds are likely to abate until a southerly change early Wednesday morning. 

Crews on the fire ground have reported the fire is not travelling as fast as predicted. 

Residents to the east and south can expect ash, burnt leaves and potentially embers to continue falling until the southerly change.

The fire is currently 148,000 ha in size and is out of control. 

Across NSW 178 homes have been lost to fire and currently nine blazes are at emergency level. 

RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said the southerly change headed up the coast is expected to hit the Coffs Harbour region around 4am or 5am on Wednesday. 

This is likely to advance the Liberation Trail firefront. 

Projections for the Liberation Trail fire north-west of Coffs Harbour.
Projections for the Liberation Trail fire north-west of Coffs Harbour. RFS

9PM: The Rural Fire Service advised on Tuesday night the Liberation Trail Fire burning out of control in the Orara Valley will, under forecast weather conditions, spread towards the coast.

In its 9pm update, the RFS advised there are a number of large bush fires burning in the Coutts Crossing, Coramba, Nana Glen and Glenreagh areas.

This evening the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter was called to Maclean. 
They are responding to a female of an unknown age who has had a serious fall. 
The lady was treated then transported to the Lismore Base Hospital. 
Because of bush fires in the area the helicopter was the only option for transportation.
This evening the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter was called to Maclean. They are responding to a female of an unknown age who has had a serious fall. The lady was treated then transported to the Lismore Base Hospital. Because of bush fires in the area the helicopter was the only option for transportation. Jamie Yeo

It advised the fire may impact on the areas near Woolgoolga the outskirts of Coffs Harbour, Sawtell and surrounding areas.

  • The Liberation Trail Fire covers more than 148,100 - hectares and is burning out of control.
     
  • The fire has breached containment lines.
     
  • The fire is threatening Yarracooma, Paddys Plain, Cradle Creek and Lowanna.
     
  • If you are in the areas of Yarracooma, Paddys Plain, Cradle Creek and Lowanna leave now towards Dorrigo before it is too late.
     
  • Fire spotting is being recorded in Sawtell.
Aerial shots of a North Coast fire taken from the Westpac Helicopter on Tuesday night.
Aerial shots of a North Coast fire taken from the Westpac Helicopter on Tuesday night.

Advice

If you are in the area of Nana Glen or Coramba and surrounding area, leave now towards Coffs Harbour.
Do not wait.

Old Glen Innes Road and Old Grafton Road is closed in both directions between Buccarumbi Bridge (near Cunglebung Road) and Gwydir Highway Buccarumbi to Bald Nob.

Clouds Creek to Coutts Crossing, Armidale Road is closed.

What you need to do

If you are threatened by fire, you may not get assistance.

If you are in these areas and your plan is to leave, or your property is not prepared, leave towards a safer location.

Safer locations include built up areas of Coffs Harbour, Woolgoolga and Grafton.

If you are unable to leave, identify a safer location which may be nearby. This may include a cleared area well away from bushland, or an identified Neighbourhood Safer Place 

Avoid bushland areas.

A southerly change is forecast early on Wednesday morning. This may push the fire in a northerly direction.

The fire situation in the Coffs as of around 8pm
The fire situation in the Coffs as of around 8pm

8.45PM: AS the severe bushfires continue across many parts of Northern NSW, safe access to fire impacted areas continues to be the biggest challenge for Essential Energy crews trying to restore power.

Despite this, restoration works have occurred in some areas with power being restored to over 5,000 customers.

As the fires continue, at least 400 poles need replacing with further damage to the network occurring, causing additional power interruptions to homes and businesses throughout the region.

It is anticipated that more homes and businesses will lose power as fires are expected to take hold due to worsening conditions overnight.

As at 6pm tonight, just over 2,000 customers were without power on the Mid North Coast, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Kempsey, Nambucca, and Clarence Valley local government areas. 

Aerial inspections of fire impacted areas via helicopter and drones are occurring where possible.

Nambucca Heads Rural Fire Service.
Nambucca Heads Rural Fire Service.

8.30PM: Optus has advised some customers on the Mid North Coast may be experiencing mobile phone issues in the Billy's Creek and Nymboida areas due to bushfire damage.

 

8PM: The NSW RFS Mid North Coast team has reported a "significant" increase in fire activity from about 4pm this afternoon. 

The Liberation Trail fire is spotting north and west of Nana Glen, around one kilometre ahead of the main front.

The RFS is anticipating the fire could run a further 20km or more this evening. 

If the fire crosses Orara Valley Way, firefighters are expecting the fire will run towards Woolgoolga.

"We have experienced significant night time fire runs on the north coast this season and can expect the Liberation Trail fire to be no different," the RFS wrote on Facebook. 

The fire situation near Coffs as of 6.30pm.
The fire situation near Coffs as of 6.30pm.

4PM: RURAL Fire crews are responding to a fire that is threatening a property on Orara Way and at Ellems Quarry Rd. 

Extra resources have been called to the locations along with helicopters.

The situation as of 4.30pm.
The situation as of 4.30pm. NSW RFS

 

Firefighters called to Ellems Quarry Rd to respond to reports of fire.
Firefighters called to Ellems Quarry Rd to respond to reports of fire.

3PM: A small fire has broken out on the eastern side of the Pacific Hwy at Bonville, at the Lyons Rd intersection.  

RFS Crews attended the scene and have now contained the fire. 

2.45PM: Residents in Nana Glen are being sent text messages from the Rural Fire Service saying:

'Fire in Nana Glen and Corambah area. Leave now if path is clear towards Coffs Harbour.'

There are also reports that the RFS is responding to a fire at Russell Crowe's 320-hectare rural property at Nana Glen.

Residents leaving the area can seek shelter at Coffs Harbour C.ex where an evacuation centre has been set up.

Animals can be taken to the Coffs Harbour Showground.  Travellers are advised to avoid the Orara Valley Way and to make alternative arrangements. 

The Liberation Trail fire has breached containment lines. The fire ground as of 2.45pm Tuesday.
The Liberation Trail fire has breached containment lines. The fire ground as of 2.45pm Tuesday. NSW RFS

2.30PM:  Residents in Macksville, Allgomera Creek and Talarm are urged to seek shelter with reports the Kian Rd fire has broken its containment lines. 

Nambucca Rural Fire Service.
Nambucca Rural Fire Service.

2PM: The RFS has advised the Liberation Trail fire is burning uncontained and is threatening the Nana Glen township and surrounds. The fire is moving in a generally easterly direction and may reach Woolgoolga and adjacent towns of the Northern Beaches. 

The fire is currently around 135,000 ha in size and is out of control. 

Orara Valley residents who are staying put are leaving their yellow bins out so the RFS know they are around:

Residents in the valley who are staying put are putting their yellow bins out to alert the RFS.
Residents in the valley who are staying put are putting their yellow bins out to alert the RFS. Trevor Veale

1.30PM: An emergency warning has been issued for those in the Coramba, Nana Glen, Glenreagh and surrounding areas. 

The Liberation Trail fire has breached containment lines. If you are in the area, leave now and head towards Coffs Harbour. Do not wait. 

If you are threatened by fire you may not get assistance. If you are unable to leave identify a safer location which may be nearby. This may include a cleared area well away form bushland.

An emergency warning has been issued in regards to the Liberation Trail fire as of 1.25pm.
An emergency warning has been issued in regards to the Liberation Trail fire as of 1.25pm. RFS

1.15PM:  Rally Australia on the Coffs Coast has been cancelled.

There had been cancellations of a number of sections but this afternoon a decision was made to cancel the entire event.

STAYING PUT: Rally Australia will stand by Coffs Harbour despite criticism of the event by prominent drivers and manufacturers.
STAYING PUT: Rally Australia will stand by Coffs Harbour despite criticism of the event by prominent drivers and manufacturers. Trevor Veale

1PM: The National Parks and Wildlife Service has a convoy of small fire trucks, each with a 500-litre capacity, heading out from the Karangi Public School this afternoon ready to protect public infrastructure as conditions are predicted to worsen this afternoon.

Andrew Pitzen reports there is a line of fire at Nana Glen and on the Dorrigo plateau this afternoon that personnel are keeping a close eye on.

"The best thing is to leave early, we don't want cars on the road with smoke and embers," Mr Pitzen said.

"It's mainly public infrastructure they were are looking to protect so the water treatment plant, the public school, the neighbourhood safe place at the Karangi RFS up here as well and working in with the RFS where the need arises.

The RFS has received a report ash has already starting falling at Lowanna. 

No traces of a fire on Range Rd has been found so far. 

NPWS fireys are preparing at Karangi Public School.
NPWS fireys are preparing at Karangi Public School. Trevor Veale

12.20PM: A convoy of Orara Valley residents are travelling down Red Hill, their utes loaded up with their belongings, as they seek safety from the Liberation Trail fire. 

Meanwhile RFS crews are investigating a report from a resident that a fire has started at Range Rd, Dirty Creek. 

 

NOON: COFFS Coast fireys are facing one of New South Wales' largest fire fronts, an expanse of intense heat and huge unpredictability.

The combination of six fires, the fireground north-west of Coffs Harbour, is growing at incredible pace with the Liberation Trail fire causing most concern and being the focus of firefighting efforts.

As it rages 'out of control' it adds to a massive fireground that includes six other fires, most of which are this afternoon 'under control' status.

At the time the Liberation Trail fire was placed under Watch and Act it had burned out almost 140,000ha and is this afternoon raging through the Orara Valley fanned by northerly winds.

The Liberation Trail fire in yellow 'out of control' status and the huge fireground northwest of Coffs Harbour at 9.30am on Tuesday.
The Liberation Trail fire in yellow 'out of control' status and the huge fireground northwest of Coffs Harbour at 9.30am on Tuesday.


Burning on multiple fronts towards Glenreagh, Nana Glen and Coutts Crossing, the fire is around three times the size of Coffs Harbour.

Speaking about the scope of the blaze, the Rural Fire Service Mid North Coast's Superintendent Sean McArdle has called it one of the bigger fire experiences ever faced by the greater Coffs Harbour area and the Orara Valley. 

Residents in rural and bushland areas in the Coffs Harbour, Bellingen and Nambucca Heads local government areas living west of the Pacific Highway have been urged to head into Coffs Harbour, Woolgoolga, Urunga and Nambucca Heads town centres.

Coffs Harbour City Council director Mick Raby has warned that ember attack is likely in most residential settlements on the Coffs Coast if the fire continues its path under predicted weather conditions.

A potential fire path of the Liberation Trail fire. The modelling does not take into account the impact firefighters could have on the blaze this afternoon under worsening weather conditions.
A potential fire path of the Liberation Trail fire. The modelling does not take into account the impact firefighters could have on the blaze this afternoon under worsening weather conditions. RFS

 

Aussie ingenuity to protect the house from falling embers.
Aussie ingenuity to protect the house from falling embers.
The small historic village of Nana Glen is under threat this afternoon and the RFS has sent text messages telling residents to 'leave now if the path is clear towards Coffs Harbour'
The small historic village of Nana Glen is under threat this afternoon and the RFS has sent text messages telling residents to 'leave now if the path is clear towards Coffs Harbour' Trevor Veale


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