Fire fighters across New South Wales are facing a day of horrendous conditions with temperatures and strong winds exceeding forecasts.

A total fire ban has been declared for large parts of the state and Deputy Rural Fire Service Commissioner Rob Rogers says people should stay on top of fire developments.

"All over we're going to get some pretty difficult conditions today and we really do need people to make sure they have got their bushfire survival plan," he said.

Emergency warning

An has been issued for a bushfire near the town of Millingandi on the state's far south coast.

A large fire is burning five kilometres to the west of Merimbula.

The RFS says properties in the Redgum Road, Yellow Pinch Dam Road, Forest Lane, Millingandi Road and north of Merimbula Bypass may come under threat as a result of a southerly change expected this afternoon.

Firefighters and aircraft are working to contain the fire.

An is also in place for a large uncontrolled grassfire near Young in the state's south west.

The Watershed Fire is burning around Harden Road, west of Boorowa and is threatening properties near Moppity Road and along Galong Murringo Road.

An emergency alert telephone warning message has been sent to homes in the area.

Warrumbungle blaze

A is in place for a 47,000 hectare bushfire still burning out of control in the Warrumbungle National Park near Coonabarabran in the state's north west.

The massive fire has broken containment lines and has forced the closure of the Newell highway, between the towns of Gilgandra and Warkton.

The blaze has destroyed at least 51 homes and 113 outbuildings and Commissioner Rogers says he is nervous ahead of today's fierce conditions.

"The fire at Coonabarabran is already acting up this morning, it's actually broken out of containment lines in the south west," he said.

"It's not a good sign that that was already acting up at 7:00am this morning."

The RFS says the fire is currently moving in a southerly direction towards Gowang and Myall Plains.

It is burning near the Grumble Road, Carrington Lane and Cenn Craich Road areas, but at this stage there is no threat to Coonabarabran itself.

A Disaster Recovery Centre will open in Coonabarabran this morning to help people affected by the bush fires.

The centre will be based in the town hall and disaster welfare, housing, insurance and other representatives will be on hand to provide support to locals.

The centre will be open seven days a week from 8:00am until 6:00pm.

Watch and Act

A fire threatening homes near Cessnock in the Hunter Valley has been downgraded to a status.

The RFS says the fire, which started yesterday, has reignited around Melbourne Street.

It is burning in a south easterly direction in bushland near Melbourne Street, Duffie Drive and Cummerford Close.

The RFS has upgraded the warning status on the Yarrabin Fire near Cooma to a status.

Firefighters are also battling the 9,000 hectare Deans Gap fire near Sussex Inlet, which was upgraded to a status a short while ago.

RFS spokesman Joel Kursawe says thousands of firefighters on standby across the state this afternoon to cope with with any new blazes that start.

"If new fires do start then they will travel very quickly under these conditions," he said.

"So we've got thousands of firefighters on standby around the state along with just under a hundred aircraft staged strategically to respond to new fires."

A bushfire which has broken out south of Mudgee in the state's central west is at status.

The RFS says a number of rural properties near Riverlea Road are under threat.

Water bombing planes are being called in to try to contain the fire.

There are around 83 bushfires burning around the state, fourteen of which are out of control.

Suspicious fire

Meanwhile, police are investigating a suspicious grass fire which forced the evacuation of a swimming centre in Sydney's west last night.

Units from the Rural Fire Service and New South Wales Fire and Rescue were called to a park in Penrith at 5.30pm yesterday.

The blaze burnt through 20 hectares of parkland before it could be contained.

 

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