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‘Today is all about saving lives’: NSW braces for extreme fire conditions

Bushfires

More than 130 fires are burning across the state as weather conditions deteriorate.

Entire towns and national parks on the South Coast are being warned to get out while they can, with searing heat and strong winds predicted for today.

The Rural Fire Service is warning potential ember attacks could risk extending fires to areas at the foot of the Blue Mountains, north-west of Penrith.

Massive blazes burning on the South Coast, from Bega to south of Batemans Bay have the potential to spread.

There are currently nine Watch and Act alerts and 12 Emergency levels in place.

The Currowan fire has crossed the Shoalhaven River at Emergency level while there are fears the Green Wattle Creek fire in the south-west of Sydney could spread to neighbouring suburbs.

For the latest up to date information from emergency services click HERE.

Updates on road closures can be found HERE.

More than 3000 firefighters will be battling fires in the state with a further 500 located at strategic points.

The Prime Minister has announced 3,000 Australian Defence Force reservists will be deployed to fire-affected communities.

The Premier has declared a week-long state of emergency with a statewide Total Fire Ban in place until Sunday.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian says she commends those who evacuated as a matter of emergency.

“Today is all about saving lives. We are grateful the community stepped up and has taken our advice.

“We’re as well prepared as we can be.

“One thing we can’t control is what the weather and the wind conditions, in particular, can do to these firefronts.”

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On the South Coast, Mayor of Eurobodalla Shire Council Liz Innes tells John Stanley she fears the whole community is under threat.

“I feel physically sick right now.

“To the south of me, there is a black monster. The wind is doing really strange things at the moment.

“I know there would probably be some people who would have hunkered down and I am seriously concerned about them.”

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Narooma Seafood Direct’s Hayley Abbott is providing refuge for about 30 people on her fishing boat off the coast of Narooma.

She tells John Stanley the water is the safest place to be.

“We’re just working together. We’ve just got to take it as it comes.”

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Former Nationals member for Monaro Peter Cochran is in the Kosciuszko National Park region helping fight the fires.

“The fires this morning were burning fairly genty, but the wind has picked up in the last half hour.

“If you don’t leave you’ve got a good chance of dying.”

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Mayor of Shoalhaven Amanda Findley says it’s not too late to leave while the roads are still open.

“We haven’t had this level of disaster in our area ever before.

“We just need to get through the next 24 hours.”

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Image: Getty/Peter Parks

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