Australia

NSW bushfire damage 'beyond what anybody expected'

Firefighters watch on as a fire approaches a property at Colo Heights last week. Source: AAP

The bushfires in New South Wales have proved to be "beyond" what was expected, the state government says.

Devastation caused by bushfires on the mid north coast of NSW is "beyond" what was expected, the emergency services minister says, as the Rural Fire Service warns conditions are set to get worse.

Searing temperatures into the 40s, combined with strong winds and little moisture in the air will likely prompt widespread severe fire danger across the state this coming week, RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said on Sunday.

His warning came alongside Emergency Services Minister David Elliott's bleak assessment of damage from fires which sparked a state of emergency to be declared in NSW a week ago.

"It's quite clear from the field of operations that we've inspected today that the devastation is probably beyond what anybody expected," Mr Elliott told reporters on a visit to affected areas around Kempsey and Port Macquarie on Sunday.

He was joined by Treasurer Dominic Perrottet who announced state government funding of $220,000 to help get communities "up and running back to normal as quickly as possible" - while firefighters continue to battle blazes.

Mr Fitzsimmons said there were likely to be "some fairly widespread severe fire dangers" this week as another mass of hot air is drawn down from the centre of the country.

Firefighters carry out a hazard reduction burn  along Putty Rd in Colo Heights near Sydney.
Firefighters carry out a hazard reduction burn along Putty Rd in Colo Heights near Sydney.
AAP

"We are expecting to see a worsening of conditions, particularly as we start heading into Tuesday and then continuing through Wednesday and Thursday again," he said.

More than 1500 firefighters were battling blazes from the outskirts of Sydney right up to the Queensland border on Sunday "doing their best to try and secure as much as they can ahead of those worsening conditions," he added.

On Sunday afternoon there were 56 fires across the state, more than half of which were uncontained, the RFS said.

Fire danger ratings are severe in the far north coast, New England, the northern slopes and northwestern regions, and very high in the Greater Sydney, Greater Hunter, Central Ranges and North Coast regions.

Meanwhile, a driver of a water truck was rushed to hospital on Sunday morning after the vehicle rolled over when he swerved to miss a car in Willawarrin, northwest of Kempsey.

The 44-year-old man, who was not driving an RFS truck, suffered suspected chest injuries in the incident.

Four people have died in NSW bushfires since November 8 and more than 300 homes had been confirmed razed.

Exhausted firefighters, especially those in the state's north who have been fighting fires for weeks, will be bolstered by crews from the south and west of NSW, as well as interstate crews and help from New Zealand, RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said.

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