Statewide forest shutdown under 'severe' bushfire threat
State forests from the north of Sydney to the Queensland border and west to the northern tablelands will be closed to the public from today.
A three-day closure is set to run through until Saturday due to the very high to extreme fire danger over the coming days.
The smoke haze on the mid and north coasts says it all today, with up to 50 bushfires being contained in NSW.
On the weather front a daytime Thursday maximum of 30 degrees is expected across much of the region.
Tomorrow is set to reach into the mid to high 30s in most parts of the mid and north coasts.
Firefronts will be fanned by 30km/h to 40kmh/ northerly winds.
Saturday should deliver a reprieve with a southerly change seeing temperatures fall back into the 20s.
Today came reports from the Rural Fire Service that the 737 Large Air Tanker that has been based at Coffs Harbour Regional Airport since early September has now flown more than 100 mission waterbombing and dropping flame retardant on fires across the coast, plains and tablelands.
By comparison the $26.3 million Marine Bashir air tanker based at the Royal Australia Air Force base in Richmond flew a total of 125 missions during the whole year of 2018.
The three-day closures applies to all state forests in the following Rural Fire Service zones:
Greater Sydney Region
Far North Coast
The only exceptions are Cumberland State Forest, Treetops Adventure Park at Ourimbah State Forest and Sealy Lookout at Orara East State Forest.
Forestry Corporation of NSW's Senior Manager Forest Stewardship Kathy Lyons asked the community to stay out of these state forests due to the very high risk to public safety.
"We are expecting very high to severe and extreme fire weather over the next three days and there are already extensive fires across the north coast and tablelands. Fires are likely to be uncontrollable in these conditions," Ms Lyons said.
"All State forests from the north of Sydney to the Queensland border and the northern tablelands will be closed for the next three days due to the high fire danger.
"This closure will affect popular camp grounds and picnic areas throughout the region including Olney, Heaton and Strickland State forests, Swans Crossing near Kendall, Coopernook Headquarters and recreation areas along the Allyn River and Telegherry River in the Chichester State forest.
"Please do not enter these forests over the next three days."
For the latest information about fires, visit the Rural Fire Service website.