Scores of fires burning across New South Wales

Firefighters rescue a koala from a blaze at Jacky Bulbin Flat, New South Wales. Photo: PAUL...
Firefighters rescue a koala from a blaze at Jacky Bulbin Flat, New South Wales. Photo: PAUL SUDMALS/via REUTERS
Almost 130 bush and grass fires are burning across New South Wales after widespread thunderstorms sparked fresh blazes.

The Rural Fire Service NSW on Wednesday said 129 fires were burning in NSW with 66 uncontained. There are more than 1800 firefighters in the field.

One persistent blaze on Myall Creek Road at Bora Ridge, south of Casino, is currently at "watch and act" level after an overnight southerly wind change pushed the fire north and impacted the Pacific Highway.

The highway remains closed between Jacky Bulbin Flat and New Italy.

Total fire bans are in place in the New England and northern slopes regions on Wednesday due to very high fire danger.

The Bureau of Meteorology said thunderstorms which hit Sydney on Tuesday afternoon and the state's northeast in the evening had produced large hailstones and damaging winds - while lightning also sparked fresh fires.

Meanwhile, as crews continue work to contain the fires, NSW Emergency Services Minister David Elliott helped launch a new "Are They Triple OK?" campaign which aims to increase support for emergency workers.

The R U OK? suicide prevention organisation will provide free resources to foster a supportive work culture for firies and other personnel.

"Having just spent three weeks dealing with the bushfire emergency ... I can tell you the prolonged exposure to destruction, loss of life, loss of property, loss of farmland and loss of our native flora and fauna will have an effect on the mental health of our firefighters, our SES members and our other emergency services volunteers," Mr Elliott told reporters in Sydney.

"So (the campaign) is a very important part of ensuring we have sustainability when it comes to these individuals."

A teen RFS volunteer was charged this week with allegedly lighting seven fires in the Bega Valley since mid-October.

Blake William Banner, 19, allegedly lit a fire on Tuesday afternoon next to the Bega river, left the area and returned to fight the blaze with the RFS.

Banner was charged with causing that fire as well as six others since October 17. He appeared before Bega Local Court on Wednesday where he was granted conditional bail.

Building impact assessment teams from the RFS continue to investigate damage in fire grounds across NSW.

Some 663 homes have been destroyed in bushfires this season and six people have died.

 

 

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