SEVERE fire danger warnings are expected to be scaled back southern NSW on Thursday but the state's north has been placed on high alert.
While areas near the ACT border and south coast have faced the biggest bushfire threat so far, the weather bureau predicts hot and dry winds from Tamworth all the way up to the Queensland border and out west to Moree are now most at risk.
Total fire bans will remain in place for the Far North Coast, North Coast, Greater Hunter, New England and Northern Slopes regions.
Temperatures are expected to exceed 40 degrees in most regions Thursday and Friday and continue to rise over the weekend.
Record breaking temperatures of more than 50 degrees are expected in NSW and South Australia on Monday.
Regular updates on fire bans and evacuation plans are available at http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/.
Advice for regions in severe fire danger
The Rural Fire Service advises you to:
- Check your bush fire survival plan - now.
- Monitor the fire and weather situation in any way you can: through www.rfs.nsw.gov.au and www.bom.gov.au, television or radio.
- Call 000 if you see a fire.
- If you plan to leave finalise your options and leave early on the day.
- Only stay if your home is well prepared and you can actively defend it.
- Prepare for the emotional, mental and physical impact of defending your property - if in doubt, leave.
EARLIER: Thousands of fire-fighters are now battling blazes across five states, but the biggest threat remains in NSW where flames are threatening multiple towns.
Of the 141 fires being fought in NSW, 31 remained uncontained at noon.
More than 342,964ha has been burnt out, 2000 fire-fighters are on duty and thousands are on standby in other states.
Residents in country towns in the state's south have been told to seek shelter in Bega and Cooma.
The Princes Hwy remains closed near Nowra where residents have been told to activate bushfire emergency plans and be ready to leave at any time.
One home has been destroyed at Jugiong in the northern Riverina.
In nearby Harden, 20 homes are under threat.
A fire which has been burning since Monday at Tarcutta near Wagga Wagga is expected to be contained later today.
A farmer reported missing in the area on Tuesday afternoon was found alive this morning.
Up until Tuesday afternoon the focus had been on the state's south but fire warnings ranging from "extreme" to "catastrophic" are now in place right up the North Coast and out west to Moree.
As Victorian fire-fighters rushed to aid of emergency services in NSW a change in the wind put country towns in their home state in the path of an out of control wildfire on Tuesday night.
Thousands of livestock were lost and at least eight homes wiped out near Ballarat, including a 120-year-old homestead.
A father and son were treated for burns but no-one was seriously injured.
Another large fire in Victoria has burnt out 6651ha at Kentbruck but no communities are under threat.
Three fires are being monitored in the Queensland towns of Tin Can Bay near Gympie, Bribie Island and Mount Morgan near Rockhampton.
Whole towns on the Tasmanian eastern peninsula, where two fires sparked on the weekend are still burning, have been evacuated.
Police have searched 700 properties in the region and the death toll remains at zero.
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