UPDATED 1:30PM, Monday November 11:
As of Tuesday afternoon the NSW Rural Fire Services has extended the Catastrophic fire danger to include the Illawarra Shoalhaven area, this is an expansion on the Greater Sydney and Greater Hunter areas which were announced on the weekend.
The updated warning from the RFS reads:
"Catastrophic fire danger is forecast for the Greater Sydney, Greater Hunter and the Illawarra Shoalhaven areas tomorrow, Tuesday.
Catastrophic is the highest level of bush fire danger.
If you are in the path of a fire in these conditions, your life will be at risk.
Avoid bushland areas.
Safer locations may include large centres, such as towns or cities well away from bushland areas.
If you are unable to leave, identify a safer location in case a fire starts. This may include a Neighbourhood Safer Place.
Stay up to date on bush fires in your area by listening to local radio, through the RFS website, through social media and the Fires Near Me NSW app."
EARLIER, 9pm, Sunday November 10:
"It will be catastrophic" is how the next couple of days is being described by emergency services.
Due to worsening weather conditions, a catastrophic fire danger warning has been issued by the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) for Greater Sydney, and Greater Hunter areas on Tuesday (November 12).
This is the first time since new Fire Danger Ratings were introduced in 2009 that the RFS has issued catastrophic fire danger for Sydney.
The latest warning comes as a state-wide total fire ban has been called for Monday to help contain more than 70 fires that continue to burn in NSW, in which there are two fires at emergency warning level.
The fires have killed three people and destroyed more than 150 homes while two firefighters on the Mid-North Coast were injured on Sunday afternoon after a tree fell on the roof of their truck.
It is unknown what pasture or livestock losses are at this stage.
On the RFS website it says catastrophic is the highest level of bush fire danger and that homes were not designed to withstand a fire under these conditions.
"If a fire starts and takes hold during catastrophic fire danger conditions, lives and homes will be at risk," the RFS said.
Cowper MP Pat Conaghan said he had a briefing with the RFS with the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Premier Gladys Berejiklian about the conditions, which were expected to be extreme tomorrow and catastrophic by tomorrow afternoon or early hours or Tuesday morning.
"It will be catastrophic...worse than the Canberra fires," Mr Conaghan said.
"They are worried what was coming."
West of Kempsey a bush fire that is burning in the Willi Willi area has burnt more than 65,980 hectares and is out of control.
The generous community of Kempsey have rallied donating time and goods from food to toiletries and clothes at the showground, which has been set up as an evacuation centre.
Further south Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited Club Taree Evacuation Centre to speak to bush fire victims.
The latest information from RFS says large areas of the state were also forecasted to experience severe and extreme fire danger. This includes in the north coast and northern NSW areas, where there is a large number of fires already burning. These fires will not be contained in time and will threaten lives and properties.
Based on latest forecasts from the Bureau of Meteorology, the following fire danger ratings are expected on Tuesday. These are subject to change as forecasts are updated:
- Catastrophic - Greater Sydney and Greater Hunter (including the Blue Mountains and Central Coast areas)
- Extreme - North Coast, Illawarra/Shoalhaven, Central Ranges, Northern Slopes and North Western
- Severe - Far North Coast, New England, Far South Coast, Southern Ranges, Lower Central West Plains
A statewide total fire ban has been declared for all areas of NSW for all of Monday and Tuesday.
Fodder and animal welfare assistance available
Bushfire affected landholders and community members seeking emergency fodder, emergency water, livestock or domestic animal assessment are urged to call the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Agricultural and Animal Services Hotline on 1800 814 647.
Schools closed on Monday
The Department of Education has confirmed the following schools will be shut on Monday due to bushfire conditions:
- Barkers Vale Public School
- Baryulgil Public School
- Beechwood Public School
- Bellbrook Public School
- Ben Lomond Public School
- Bobin Public School
- Cascade Environmental Education Centre
- Coolongolook Public School
- Coopernook Public School
- Coutts Crossing Public School
- Deepwater Public School
- Dundurrabin Public School
- Elands Public School
- Emmaville Central School
- Hallidays Point Public School
- Hannam Vale Public School
- Harrington Public School
- Heron's Creek Public School
- Huntington Public School
- Johns River Public School
- Lansdowne Public School
- Long Flat Public School
- Lowanna Public School
- Manning Gardens Public School
- Mingoola Public School
- Mitchells Island Public School
- Moorland Public School
- Mount George Public School
- Nabiac Public School
- Nana Glen Public School
- Nymboida Public School
- Old Bar Public School
- Oxley Island Public School
- Pacific Palms Public School
- Rollands Plains Upper Public School
- Telegraph Point Public School
- Tinonee Public School
- Upper Lansdowne Public School
- Willawarrin Public School
- Wingham Brush Public School
- Wingham Public School
- Wytaliba Public School
- Yarrowitch Public School