RFS continue to battle the Big Hill Trail blaze which has scorched 8000 hectares of land between Kempsey and Port Macquarie

Aerial photo of the Big Hill Trail fire on December 8. Photo: Trevor and Gayle Kee
Aerial photo of the Big Hill Trail fire on December 8. Photo: Trevor and Gayle Kee

6pm, December 9 

Firefighters have worked across the day to contain the fire burning in the Limeburners Creek National Park.

Crews will remain on scene over the coming days to patrol the fire and continue to black out any hot spots.

Maria River Road is now open to traffic.

10am, December 9 

Thick smoke in Port Macquarie

Thick smoke in Port Macquarie

A southerly change moved across the fire ground on Friday afternoon and some light rain has fallen. This saw fire activity subside and backburning halted.

Further showers have fallen across the fireground this morning. Crews will continue to patrol the area today and may undertake further backburning if weather conditions allow.

There is no immediate threat to homes however, residents in the vicinity of Maria River Road, Illa Langie Road, Tarcoola Road, Plomer Rd, Riverside Drive, North Shore, Blackmans Point, Fernbank Creek, The Hatch, Illa Langi and Mundays Lane should continue to monitor the situation.

Maria River Road remains closed between Crescent Head Road and Shoreline Drive as crews work to remove dangerous trees.

Smoke produced by the fire and backburning has drifted across parts of the Mid North Coast, this is generating a number of calls to Triple Zero (000). Please only report unattended fires to Triple Zero, not just the sighting of smoke in the area.

5pm, December 8: 

The fire continues to move in a south westerly direction towards the Maria River and Hastings River under the influence of north easterly winds. A southerly change is expected later this afternoon. This will push smoke and the fire in a northerly direction towards Crescent Head.

Lifeguard Brae Pettiford watches the drama from Lighthouse Beach. Photo: Ivan Sajko

Lifeguard Brae Pettiford watches the drama from Lighthouse Beach. Photo: Ivan Sajko

Residents in the vicinity of Maria River Road, Illa Langie Road, Tarcoola Road, Plomer Rd, Riverside Drive, North Shore, Blackmans Point, Fernbank Creek, The Hatch, Illa Langi and Mundays Lane are advised to monitor the situation. Residents in these areas are also likely to experience ash and possible embers.

Crews are continuing backburning operations. There is no immediate threat to homes however, residents are advised to follow their bush fire survival plan and take direction from firefighters in the area.

Maria River Road is closed between Crescent Head Road and Shoreline Drive. The M1 Pacific Highway is open however smoke is drifting across the road in the vicinity of Telegraph Point.

WHAT an induction for bush firefighter Bridie Jayne on scene at the Big HIll Trail blaze on the NOrth Shore.

It is Bridie’s first major fire since completing her training in February 2017.

Bridie Jayne on scene at the Big Hill Trail blaze as a part of the Lake Cathie RFS unit.

Bridie Jayne on scene at the Big Hill Trail blaze as a part of the Lake Cathie RFS unit.

“After many hours and kilometres of back burning operations the crew was showing signs of fatigue the changeover crews were still three hours away and the fire was not going to let us rest,” she said.

“We had been walking through rough terrain for hours under touch light and the glow of the fire, at approximately 6am the sun glared though the smoke and revealed the extent of our backburns.

“It was unwelcomed as it provided camouflage for the embers that were attacking the unburnt side of our breaks and the temperature was rising as quick as the sun itself.”

9am, December 8: 

The fire is being pushed by north easterly winds in a south westerly direction towards the Maria River and Hastings River.

With more favourable conditions overnight, firefighters were able to continue backburning operations. This will continue today with a focus on strengthening containment lines ahead of an expected southerly wind change later this afternoon.

Photo: Melissa Smith

Photo: Melissa Smith

Residents in the vicinity of Maria River Road, Tarcoola Road, Plomer Rd, Riverside Drive, North Shore, Blackmans Point, Fernbank Creek, The Hatch and Illa Langi are advised to monitor the situation and conditions due to an increase in fire activity. Residents in these areas are also likely to experience ash and possible embers.

There is no immediate threat to homes however, residents are advised to follow their bush fire survival plan and take direction from firefighters in the area.

Maria River Road is closed between Crescent Head Road and Shoreline Drive. The M1 Pacific Highway is open however smoke is drifting across the road in the vicinity of Telegraph Point.

Smoke produced by the fire and backburning will be visible throughout today and smoke is likely to be seen across parts of the Mid North Coast throughout today.

Health warning

Smoke from this fire is currently impacting a large area. Under south easterly winds smoke may be visible along the mid north coast stretching from Crescent Head to Port Macquarie, Wauchope, Taree, Laurieton, Moorland, Krambach and as far as Nabiac.

NSW Health reminds people that children, older adults and people with heart and lung conditions are most susceptible to the effects of air pollution and excessive smoke.

If you have asthma or a lung condition, reduce outdoor activities if smoke levels are high and if shortness of breath or coughing develops, take your reliever medicine or seek medical advice.

Asthma sufferers need to follow their Asthma Action Plan and take their relieving medication where necessary. If symptoms get worse, seek medical advice.

10.30pm, December 7: 

The fire, which has now affected more than 6000 hectares, is being pushed by north easterly winds in a south westerly direction towards the Maria River and Hastings River.

Firefighters will take advantage of easing conditions overnight to continue backburning operations.

Photo: Mikayla Priest

Photo: Mikayla Priest

Residents in the vicinity of Maria River Road, Tarcoola Road, Plomer Rd, Riverside Drive, North Shore, Blackmans Point, Fernbank Creek, The Hatch and Illa Langi are advised to monitor the situation and conditions due to an increase in fire activity. Residents in these areas are also likely to experience ash and possible embers.

There is no immediate threat to homes however, residents are advised to follow their bush fire survival plan and take direction from firefighters in the area.

Maria River Road is closed between Crescent Head Road and Shoreline Drive. The M1 Pacific Highway is open however smoke is drifting across the road in the vicinity of Telegraph Point.

Smoke produced by the fire and backburning will be visible overnight and smoke is likely to settle in parts of the Mid North Coast Friday morning.

5pm, December 7: FIRE crews are expected to work through the night to contain a massive blaze that has now burned more than 4,500 hectares of coastal heath between Kempsey and Port Macquarie.

Strong winds from the north east have hampered fire-fighting operations and making containment difficult.

Battle continues: Fire crews will work throughout the night with water bombing aircraft to contain the fire. Photo: Michael Hinch

Battle continues: Fire crews will work throughout the night with water bombing aircraft to contain the fire. Photo: Michael Hinch

Fire crews are taking advantage of calmer condition throughout the night to undertake back burning and strengthen containment lines.

It is anticipated that the fire will continue to burn through the remainder of the week which will result in significant smoke and ash in the areas of Port Macquarie, North Shore, The Hatch and Telegraph Point.

Motorist travelling along the Pacific Highway (M1) in the Telegraph Point area should take care as there is smoke drift in the area.

Residents in the townships of North Shore, The Hatch, Fernbank Creek, Illa Langi Road and Plomer Road are advised there will be significant smoke and ash in the area over the coming days.

The RFS has urged residents to be ready to implement a Bush Fire Survival Plan. 

Keep key information available including the Fires Near Me app available for Android and IOS from the App Store and via the NSW RFS website www.rfs.nsw.gov.au

Help: Fire crews from Tuncurry, Mitchells Island, Diamond Beach and Tinonee arrive on Riverside Drive, North Shore. Photo: Peter Daniels

Help: Fire crews from Tuncurry, Mitchells Island, Diamond Beach and Tinonee arrive on Riverside Drive, North Shore. Photo: Peter Daniels