Cooler weather helps NSW firefighters battle deadly inferno
FIREFIGHTERS have made the most of cooler weather overnight to work on containment lines around six major bushfires in New South Wales before conditions worsen in the coming days.
The ABC reports that In the worst-hit part of the Blue Mountains 81 properties have been destroyed and it is thought hundreds of homes could have been lost across the state in Thursday's blazes.
One man died trying to protect his home from a fire than burnt from Doyalson to Catherine Hill Bay, at Lake Macquarie.
Watch and act warnings remained in place on Saturday morning for fires in the Southern Highlands, Wyong, Mount Victoria, Lithgow, Heatherbrae and Springwood in the Blue Mountains.
Around 190 firefighters are working to contain the Springwood fire which is still burning out of control.
Disaster relief for those hit by fires
Those affected by the devastating New South Wales fires will be offered $1000 per adult and $400 per child as part of initial disaster relief efforts by the Federal Government.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said although the danger is yet to pass, those with fire-ravaged homes, or injuries or a lost family member will be eligible for the payment.
The payment will come on top of other relief help that supplies emergency food, clothing and accommodation to those caught in the path of destruction.
For more information, visit www.disasterassist.gov.au or telephone 180 2266.
People trapped in homes on NSW Central Coast
UPDATE: People are trapped in their homes on the NSW Central Coast where a major fire has blocked all exit routes near Wyong.
One man has already died protecting his home from the blaze, which is threatening properties on Chain Valley Bay Rd and surrounding streets.
Residents are being told it is too late to leave and to seek shelter where they can.
The threat had been downgraded earlier today but flying embers are endangering more than 100 properties as the fire front breaches containment lines.
The same fire destroyed a number of homes in the Catherine Hill Bay area overnight.
Authorities have not ruled out the possibility of finding victims in the ruins.
An emergency warning remains in place for a fire in the Blue Mountains where students are being sheltered in the hall of the local high school.
Evacuations were ordered earlier today.
More than 100 homes were lost in the blaze overnight.
Cooler weather brings relief to fire fronts
Cooler weather is bringing relief to seven major fire fronts across NSW but evacuations are continuing in the Blue Mountains, where a blaze that destroyed hundreds of homes overnight is menacing the outskirts of Springwood.
The fire jumped containment lines late this morning, forcing the evacuation of a number of streets.
Firefighters have surrounded the Springwood High School where students are being sheltered in the hall.
In the past 24 hours, the same fire has wiped out whole streets at Winmalee, Warrimoo and Yellow Rock.
Several people remain unaccounted for.
At least 200 homes, livestock and pets were lost.
On the Central Coast, a 63-year-old man suffered a fatal heart attack while trying to defend his home at Lake Munmorah.
An emergency warning was in place for that fire, which was closed the Pacific Hwy near Wyong but by lunch time the threat had been downgraded to watch and act status.
At Lithgow, where fire has torn through more than 24,000ha of land evacuation centres have re-opened but no emergency warnings are in place.
A fire at Heatherbrae, which forced the closure of the Newcastle Airport on Thursday and another in the Southern Highlands have also been downgraded.
Two volunteer firefighters are being treated in hospital for burns at the Concord Hospital.
Speaking to reporters this morning, NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons broke down as he praised the firefighting efforts.
He said many of those fighting the Blue Mountains blazes were out defending the homes and lives of strangers, when their own properties had been destroyed or were under threat.
Of the 100 fires burning across the state, at least 32 remain out of control.
Updates can be found at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au or by calling the Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737.