The sky above Port Macquarie has been blotted out by smoke and falling ash from bushfires in the area.
As conditions worsen the Lindfield Park Road bushfire has been updated with an emergency warning and Pacific Highway has been closed between Hastings River Drive and the Oxley Highway.
The Port Macquarie bush fire covering 698 hectares is burning near the Pacific Highway to the west of the town after breaching containment lines.
Southbound motorists are being diverted into Port Macquarie.
Residents in the area of Thrumster and Sovereign Hills are encouraged to shelter as the fire impacts and seek solid structure to protect against the heat of the fire.
READ MORE: Follow the live blog of the unfolding bushfire threat here
North Coast Public Health Unit director Paul Corben said smoke 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," said Mr Corben.
"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 can limit their exposure to the smoke by going to air-conditioned buildings such shopping centres and libraries or temporarily spending time away from the affected area until conditions improve.
Residents are being reminded to stay up to date with the bush fire situation by checking the RFS website, listening to your local radio station or by calling the NSW RFS Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737.
For information on road closures, check the live traffic website. Roads may be closed without warning.
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