Bushfire Smoke Blankets Mid-North New South Wales Coast Amid 'Catastrophic' Conditions

Several emergency-level bushfires were burning on the northern coast of New South Wales in what state officials called a “catastrophic” fire situation on November 12.

Out-of-control fires were threatening homes near Kempsey, Tenterfield, Hillville, Nowendoc and Armidale, while two emergency-level blazes were impacting the Clarence Valley.

Residents in some of the affected areas were told it was “too late to leave” and to protect themselves “from the heat of the fire” while others were ordered to evacuate immediately. Strong winds were preventing some waterbombers from reaching fires, New South Wales Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.

Hot, windy and dry conditions sparked a significant increase in dangerous fire activity across the state’s east coast since Friday, November 8. Three people had died and a number were missing while hundreds of properties were damaged as a result of the fires, authorities said.

This footage shows smoke from the Hillville fire blanketing a road surrounded by scorched bushland in Rainbow Flat, near Taree, on November 11. Credit: @maroubra65 via Storyful