Firefighters in New South Wales and Victoria were battling tough conditions overnight as wind changes hit.
In New South Wales, erratic fire conditions were predicted well into the night and a blaze in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, deteriorated overnight.
The Erskine Creek fire was burning out of control to the south of Wentworth Falls and a forecast southerly change was predicted to hit between midnight and 3:00am (local time).
That change was expected to push the fire towards Leura and Wentworth Falls, with residents told to make final preparations to protect their properties.
Elsewhere, a “mega-blaze” formed around 9:00pm as severe weather conditions fanned fires in the Snowy Mountains area.
At 3:00am, there were five watch and act alerts in NSW, including Erskine Creek and the Morton fire in the Southern Highlands area near Bundanoon.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) in NSW said they were seeing an “increase in bushfire risk as the strong southerly change continues to make its way north through the night”.
“The gusty winds may make local fire behaviour erratic as they hit the different blazes.”
In the East Gippsland and Alpine communities, Victorian firefighters were also facing strong, gusty and unpredictable winds as the weather change moved through.
It had been a nervous wait for people in Victoria’s Alpine towns but conditions looked to be easing overnight as the BOM cancelled its severe wind warning alert.
At 1:00am in Victoria, there was one emergency warning in the state’s east and 16 at watch and act level, and communities were urged to stay vigilant.
Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday extended the state of disaster for two days and authorities urged people in the declared disaster zones to leave the area.
The state of disaster covers East Gippsland, the Alpine region and the state’s north-east.
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