Exhausted volunteer fire crews continue to battle a number of significant bush fires in the Port Macquarie-Hastings after another weekend of hot, dry conditions.
The Oxley Highway remains closed in both directions due to a fire at Mount Seaview with travellers being advised to use Waterfall Way as an alternative.
At Crestwood, Rural Fire Service volunteers used milder overnight conditions to strengthen containment lines by implementing back burning procedures.
However, a spot fire to the south has developed in swamp area and crews are now working to control that spot fire.
RFS public liaison officer Jonty Bruce says the 40 hectare Crestwood fire was believed started by a lightning strike on Saturday afternoon (October 26).
Mr Bruce warned residents with health issues to seek advice and to follow guidelines.
"They key message around that fire is that it will produce smoke and considerable ash over the next few days," he said.
"The direction of this smoke and ash will be variable depending on the prevailing winds.
"As night falls residents will see a glow from that fire. We can expect this to continue over the coming day."
He said any resident with a health condition should see immediate medical attention and follow health guidelines.
Mr Bruce said the fire is being controlled but fire crews were now dealing with the spot fire.
"We will have waterbombing aircraft basically from 9am onwards in that area," he said.
As night falls residents will see a glow from that fire. We can expect this to continue over the coming day.Jonty Bruce
"So they will be working through the vicinity throughout the day.
"While local crews have been at this fire, we are now looking for out of town crews to provide assistance."
The Oxley Highway fire at Coombes Gap is burning in inaccessible country, said Mr Bruce.
"It is in pretty tricky terrain," he said.
"The highway remained closed overnight and there was going to be an assessment to see if that was going to be opened or not sometime this morning.
"We do have crews from RFS, National Parks and Wildlife Service and Forestry Corporation in that area.
"We are not seeing any immediately threat to property at this stage.
"RFS has discussed this fire with local residents."
Mid-North Coast fire updates:
Mr Bruce said crews were working on strengthening containment lines while the fire remains active on both sides of the road.
This fire is some 261 hectares.
A two hectare bush fire at Rawdon Island is contained and being monitored by crews.
This fire is listed as under control.
Another bush fire at Ferny Creek Road off Burrawan Forest Drive is also contained but is likely to produce smoke for a couple of days.
Mr Bruce said logs were still burning in this area and crews and machinery will be used to break these up to help extinguish the fire.
We urge people with chronic respiratory or cardiac conditions to be aware of the health effects of exposure to bushfire smoke and to take steps to protect their health.Paul Corben
The North Coast Public Health Unit is advising Port Macquarie residents to take health precautions while smoke from the weekend's Crestwood bushfire continues to affect local air quality.
Fine smoke particles affect the human respiratory system and can aggravate existing chronic health conditions by penetrating deep into the lungs and entering the blood system.
Director of the North Coast Public Health Unit, Paul Corben, said the particles can cause various health problems such as itchy or burning eyes, throat and nose irritation and illnesses such as bronchitis.
"We urge people with chronic respiratory or cardiac conditions to be aware of the health effects of exposure to bushfire smoke and to take steps to protect their health," Mr Corben said.
"Smoke exposure can lead people with lung disease or chronic bronchitis to develop shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing, many days after smoke is inhaled. We recommend these people closely monitor their symptoms and follow their asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) action plan."
People sensitive to smoke should limit their exposure to the smoke, where possible, and consider going to air-conditioned buildings such shopping centres and libraries, or temporarily spending time away from the affected area until conditions improve.
Mr Corben advised residents to stay indoors until the air clears and avoid strenuous exercise or heavy outdoor work where possible.
"Symptoms can occur for several days after smoke is inhaled, so people with chronic respiratory and cardiac conditions need to be vigilant with their own medication or treatment programs," Mr Corben said. "If symptoms do not settle, contact your doctor."
Healthy adults may also feel the effects of fine particles that can irritate the lungs, but generally any symptoms will clear after the smoke disappears.
In the event of an emergency, always remember to dial triple-000.
For the latest fire information, visit the NSW Rural Fire Service website.
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