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 Bushfires 
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Post Bushfires
Homes evacuated as fires rage across NSW
By Toby Mann, AAP
Updated October 5, 2012, 10:25 pm

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A bushfire on the NSW central coast is closing in on homes around Lobster Beach, north of Sydney.

Firefighters have downgraded the status of a major bushfire burning on the NSW central coast as they continue to tackle blazes across the state.

Cooler weather conditions are helping to contain the blazes. Authorities have warned this could be the start of one of the worst fire seasons on record.

At least 20 homes were evacuated on one road as a fire spread across the Pretty Beach and Lobster Beach area, near Gosford.

At its height, more than 120 firefighters were battling the fire, which covered 90 hectares.

An emergency warning alert level issued for the area was lifted on Friday evening but residents were warned to remain aware of the conditions.

The Rural Fire Service (RFS) said lower temperatures and easing winds across the state were aiding firefighters' efforts, both in Lobster Beach and Pretty Beach, and also in Wyee, where a fire that initially broke out on Thursday reignited on Friday.

It's hoped rain could fall on the fire ground over the weekend, decreasing the fire danger risk.

"We have had more than 30 fires burning throughout the state. One of the two of concern has been the Pretty Beach and Lobster Beach fire," a RFS spokesman said.

"It's been downgraded to a watch and act message, indicative of the favorable weather conditions across the fire ground."

The fire was burning close to homes on High View Road and Hawke Head Drive and efforts to contain it were continuing, he added.

It had jumped containment lines earlier on Friday, leading to people being escorted from their homes on High View Road.

Backburning was taking place on Friday night in areas close to people's homes.

In Wyee, near Lake Macquarie, a bushfire remained uncontained late on Friday, with firefighters' action concentrating on the Rutleys Road area.

Parts of the Sydney to Newcastle railway line were temporarily closed due to the blaze.

Several people voluntarily chose to leave their homes and head to a local RFS shed, the service said.

The cause of the Wyee fire, which burned over 600 hectares, is under investigation.

RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers told Macquarie Radio there had been reports a boatload of people had lit an open fire on Lobster Beach on Thursday night and failed to douse it properly before leaving.

NSW Emergency Service Minister Michael Gallacher said the intensity of the inferno should act as warning.

"We have seen a serious bushfire north of Sydney impact homes today," he said in a statement.

"The coming fire season has the potential to be one of the worst in many years."

Further north, near Singleton, several hobby farms were at risk at Mount Mirannie.

Sixty firefighters and two water-bombing aircraft managed to protect farms in the area.

The Pacific Highway was earlier closed between Houston Mitchell Drive and Burrawan Forest Drive at Lake Innes as 21 firefighters worked to extinguish a blaze near Port Macquarie.
Crews are continuing to work across the state throughout the night.

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Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:33 pm
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Post Re: Bushfires

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