NSW firefighters battle 'nightmare' blazes

NSW firefighters continue to battle several out of control bushfires in the State's north
NSW firefighters continue to battle several out of control bushfires in the State's north

Strong winds threaten to push at least one of three major bushfires towards homes on the NSW north coast, with the local mayor describing the situation as very serious.

Three watch-and-act warnings are in place for fires at Bees Nest near Armidale, Drake near Tenterfield and Shark Creek in the Clarence Valley just south of Yamba.

At least nine homes and 34 outbuildings have so far been destroyed and six homes damaged but crews are yet to fully assess the damage.

Of greatest concern is the Shark Creek fire, with gusts of more than 60km/h hitting the area just before midday on Tuesday.

"When we see those strong southerly winds strengthen ... (it will) potentially threaten the areas of Angourie, Wooloweyah and Yamba," RFS Inspector Ben Shepherd told AAP.

Residents in those coastal villages are being warned to monitor the situation closely after the blaze breached containment lines overnight.

Directly in the potential path of the fire is the Angourie Resort, south of Yamba.

Danielle, who runs the business with her husband and parents, said they'd managed to evacuate all of their guests within an hour at lunchtime on Monday.

While easing conditions gave the family some hope overnight, strong winds on Tuesday have put them on edge.

"You just feel so helpless, you just want to do something ... (we're) just sitting here waiting to get the news it's burnt down," she told AAP.

"My husband keeps going down there and wetting things down with hoses ... the wind is not working in our favour, it's less than a kilometre away."

The fire has already burnt through more than 7750 hectares of bushland in the Yuraygir National Park.

Clarence Valley mayor Jim Simmons said he can't remember the area ever being so dry and has described the conditions as "really terrible".

"We haven't seen anything like this in my lifetime," he told AAP on Tuesday.

"It's very serious."

Strong winds, smoke and dust caused "stifling conditions" on Monday, with much the same expected on Tuesday, Mr Simmons said.

Crews are also trying to get a hold on fires north of Ebor at Bees Nest - which has a perimeter of more than 300km and has burnt more than 66,500 hectares - and around Long Gully Road in Drake, which has razed 40,000ha.

Firefighters have spent the night trying to protect property but have been unable to bring the fires under control.

"Just trying to get containment on these fires is a nightmare," NSW Rural Fire Service deputy commissioner Rob Rogers told Nine's Today Show.

"They are still burning in and around properties, and that's going to continue on until hopefully there will be a break tomorrow from the winds. But today we're expecting stronger winds again."

More favourable conditions are forecast for Wednesday but with no rain expected, the RFS has warned the Bees Nest and Long Gully Road blazes could burn for weeks.

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a high fire danger rating for several regions on Tuesday including the far north coast, north coast, New England, central ranges and greater Hunter. The risk will be very high in the northern slopes region.

Nearly 400 firefighters were out in the field on Tuesday morning. That number is expected to almost double throughout the day as about 55 blazes continue to burn across the state, 20 of which are yet to be contained.

Australian Associated Press