17 Oct 2013

Hundreds of properties feared lost in NSW bushfires

10:16 pm on 17 October 2013

Hundreds of properties are feared lost in bushfires around New South Wales, and it will be a miracle if no lives are lost, says Premier Barry O'Farrell.

Hundreds of properties are feared destroyed in bushfires around the state, with up to 30 known to be lost at Springwood, in the Blue Mountains.

Mr O'Farrell said that despite a change cooling the weather where fires were burning, the danger was not over.

"And I suspect that if we get through that without the loss of life we should thank God for miracles," he told reporters at Rural Fire Service headquarters in Sydney on Thursday.

AAP reports that more than 90 fires were burning across New South Wales at 6.30pm (AEDT), 36 of them uncontained.

Six fires were of most concern, burning aggressively and causing destruction, RFS commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.

There are also unconfirmed reports of properties being lost at North Doyalson, on the Central Coast; at Lithgow; at Yanderra and Balmoral, in the Southern Highlands; and in Port Stephens, where a fire is burning near Newcastle Airport which has been closed.

Elsewhere in NSW, fires of grave concern to authorities are burning at Leppington, near Camden, west of Sydney, at South Nowra, on the south coast, and at Muswellbrook, in the Hunter Valley.

"If we get through today losing less than 100 homes, we'll have been very lucky," Rural Fire Service spokesman Anthony Clark said.

Firefighters are expecting a reprieve in the weather on Friday, but warn the hot dry conditions are due back by the end of the weekend.

Infrastructure and roads have been damaged, and no one has yet had the chance to assess the damage caused to utilities like water treatment centres.