Footage of the Myall Creek fire.
Footage of the Myall Creek fire.

Bushfires close roads, block Schoolies

Police have issued a warning to thousands of NSW teens getting ready to road trip to Byron Bay, reminding them of "significant" road closures due to bushfires.

The Pacific Highway remains closed between Woodburn and Woombah due to the Myall Creek Road bushfire in the Richmond Valley and Summerland Way also remains closed between Casino and Grafton.

Emergency services are asking to please delay all non-essential travel in the area.

"If you need to travel between Grafton and Ballina, motorists are being asked to use the Gwydir Highway, the New England Highway and the Bruxner Highway instead," police said in a statement.

 

Footage of the Myall Creek fire.
Footage of the Myall Creek fire.

This alternative will add about 3.5 hours extra to the trip, and is not suitable for B-doubles.

Thousands of teenagers are expected to make their way to Byron Bay and the Gold Coast today for Schoolies celebrations.

"These main roads could be closed for some time, and other routes could also be closed at short notice due to bushfire conditions," police advised.

 

A scene from the fire burning at Myall Creek Road in Bora Ridge earlier this week.
A scene from the fire burning at Myall Creek Road in Bora Ridge earlier this week.

QUEENSLAND LIFTS EMERGENCY DECLARATION

Queensland's bushfire emergency declaration has been lifted from all parts of the state following two weeks of ferocious fire conditions and the loss of 20 homes.

The declaration was imposed on November 9 as firefighters battled more than 50 bushfires and thousands of people were evacuated from the path of an out of control blaze on the Sunshine Coast.

One home was lost in the Cooroibah fire, near Noosa. Another 15 were destroyed at Cobraball, in central Queensland, and four at Ravensbourne on the Darling Downs in the days since.

"Over the last few weeks, our state has been in the grips of some very severe and challenging fire weather," Queensland Fire and Emergency Services acting-commissioner Mike Wassing said in a statement.

"While conditions have eased slightly, and the bushfire danger has fallen ... (allowing the declaration to be lifted), we still have significant blazes that continue to burn."

Today, 58 fires continue to burn across the state, however, none are at emergency levels.

Despite this, authorities have reintroduced local fire bans across the southern half of the state.

Under a local fire ban, all open fires are prohibited and all previously issued permits to light a fire are cancelled.

"Now is not the time to be complacent - conditions are still dry and there isn't significant rainfall expected in Queensland in the immediate future," acting-commissioner Wassing said.

Council officers are assessing trees and cleaning up around roads and structures to safely reopen roads in the coming days.

 

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services at the Pechey bushfire.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services at the Pechey bushfire.

VICTORIA BATTLES REMOTE FOREST FIRES

Further south in Victoria, firefighters are hoping mild weekend conditions will help them control blazes caused by lightning in remote patches of forest in the state's northeast.

About 30 fires were still burning in Victoria on Friday afternoon, 20 of them located in hard-to-reach forested areas of the state's northeast.

Forest Fire Management Victoria said aircraft including big air tankers from Canberra and Sydney are being used to fight the forest blazes.

"The aim is to get on top of them with the milder conditions," the authority's Hume deputy chief fire officer Aaron Kennedy said.

 

 

More than 50 firefighting trucks, dozers and other heavy plant were also set to work yesterday to build containment lines and deal with dangerous trees.

But the remoteness of the fires isn't making their job easy.

"There is a lot of work to do in very difficult conditions," Mr Kennedy said.

More than 150 blazes burned across Victoria on Thursday, when record-breaking temperatures and strong winds lashed the state.

The CFA believes lightning or campfires started many of them.

Melbourne broke a 100-year-old temperature record for November on Thursday, with the mercury hitting 40.9C and creeping well into the 40s in the Mallee region and northern country towns.

Temperatures cooled on Friday, with emergency services now turning their attention to Monday when the temperature and fire risk are set to rise again, a CFA spokesman told AAP.

On Monday temperatures are expected to reach the high 30s in the state's north - the driest part of the state - and 32C in central Melbourne.

NSW FIRES ADD TO SYDNEY'S 'APOCALYPTIC' SKY

New South Wales also had its fair share of wild weather earlier this week.

Yesterday, Sydney's CBD was plunged into "apocalyptic" darkness midafternoon and lightning strikes lit up U2's concert in the city on a day of remarkable weather conditions in the NSW capital.

The city was eerily dark by 5pm yesterday ahead of the thunderstorms as storm clouds mixed with the lingering smoke from NSW bushfires that had settled across the city, including from one blaze at nearby Gospers Mountain.

 

Eerie weather hit Sydney yesterday. Picture: Monique Harmer
Eerie weather hit Sydney yesterday. Picture: Monique Harmer

Thousands of homes on Sydney's lower north shore lost power as thunderstorms affected the region's electricity grid yesterday.

The Bureau of Meteorology said the thunderstorms began brewing in the Blue Mountains yesterday afternoon, as moisture from the north met with triggers such as converging winds.

With AAP