Firefighters in New South Wales have declared a bushfire emergency in three areas of the state as more than 2,000 volunteers battle the flames. The Rural Fire Service’s John Winter says it is possible more declarations will be made tomorrow. “There is a bushfire emergency that’s been declared in the Mudgee shire as a result of fires burning in that area,” Mr Winter said. “Equally there are bushfire emergency delacrations that are also in force now for Cessnock and Blue Mountains,” he said. “We are considering them for a number of other areas including Hawkesbury and in the north of the state around Kempsey.” In the lower Blue Mountains, helicopters are dumping fire retardant on four out-of-control bushfires. The biggest blaze is at Lapstone where it’s cut both the Great Western Highway and services on the Blue Mountains Rail Line. Another fire at Tabbimobile, south of Grafton has closed one lane of the Pacific Highway. At Aracune near South West Rocks, an aboriginal settlement and a caravan park have been evacuated. About 200 people have been moved to safety.
ACT fires Fire authorities say a forest fire in Canberra which threatened houses in western surburbs is largely contained. However there are still concerns over a blaze in the exclusive Red Hill area of the national capital. At the height of the drama, fire crews were fighting blazes in west, north and central areas of Canberra. At least one house has been engulfed by the fires but there are no reports of any injuries. Tony Bartlett, of ACT Forests, says crews will be working throughout the night.