AEST: Australian Eastern Standard Time.

AEDT: Australian Eastern Daylight Time.

October 21: 03.10: AEST

Fire authorities have issued an emergency bushfire warning for Springwood in the NSW Blue Mountains, AAP reports.

The Rural Fire Service says fire activity has flared up between Chapman Road and Grose Road.

There are now three emergency warnings in place across the state.

October 21: 02.55: AEST

An emergency Balmoral bushfire warning urges residents in Wilton, southwest of Sydney, to shelter in their homes, AAP reports.

“Our advice to residents in that area will be to shelter in a place because we can’t guarantee their safety travelling on the roads,” said a Rural Fire Service spokesman.

Firefighters continue to battle the massive State Mine Fire between Lithgow and the Blue Mountains.

October 21: 02.10pm: AEST

October 21: 01.00pm: AEST

Note: Tweet is in AEDT.

October 21: 12.30pm: AEST

October 21: 12.24pm: AEST

October 21: 12.20pm: AEST

AAP reports the estimated insurance bill from the fires is at $94 million with 855 claims made.

More than 200 homes have been lost over the last week and the figure may rise.

An Insurance Council of Australia spokesman told AAP assessors will be sent into fire-ravaged areas as soon as it's safe.

He said claims have been made for damaged and destroyed homes and businesses, as well as contents, vehicles and other items.

October 21: 12.07pm: AEST

NSW RFS reports.

October 21: 11.44am: AEST

October 21: 11.38am: AEST

NSW authorities fear three large bushfires burning in the Blue Mountains could merge in worsening conditions over the next few days, ABC reports.

There are warnings for an unparalleled fire emergency and say a potential mega-fire could stretch across hundreds of kilometres.

A state of emergency is in effect across the state, giving authorities powers to forcibly remove people, cut electricity and water supplies, and shore up or demolish buildings.

October 21: 10.40am: AEST

Premier Barry O’Farrell said “scumbags” who loot houses abandoned during NSW’s devastating bushfires will be tracked down, ABC reports.

There is currently no official confirmation of looting but reports that abandoned homes are being robbed are appearing on social media.

"I'm just appalled that at these critical times, when people have been evacuated from homes or whether people have left homes because of fire dangers, that other scumbags in the community would front up and seek to rob them," he told reporters in Sydney.

October 21: 10.24am: AEST

NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione says police will come down hard on bushfire looters.

There have been several reports of property theft from houses in bushfire stricken areas.

Commissioner Sciopine says police have zero tolerance for this sort of behaviour.

“It’s the worst thing you can do, you will be dealt with harshly,” he said.

October 21: 9.55am: AEST

Fire destroys home in Donnybrook as crews return to determine cause of blaze, ABC reports.

The blaze began at the property in Yelverton Street just after 11:00pm last night.

No one was home at the time.

Damage has been estimated at $200,000.

October 21: 9.35am: AEST

Victorian Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley says more Victorian fire resources will be sent to New South Wales, the ABC reports.

“We’re sitting on top of potentially other requests now which will include MFB pumpers to go into the greater Sydney area to replace firefighters who have been deployed (and for the) CFA, which will be big tankers to go onto the front line.”

One hundred and thirty firefighters have spent the weekend working on fire fronts and will be replaced by more Victorian crews today.

October 21: 8.58am: AEST

Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill plans to launch an appeal to help fire-ravaged communities.

He told the ABC the appeal should be open later today and that he will announce how people could donate in coming hours.

"210 homes lost, 109 damaged, but yet no loss of life. To maintain that fantastic record we need to be tough and strong," he said.

"And that community spirit, both within and outside the Blue Mountains, just lifts you."

"We've got tough days ahead, and we've had tough days behind us, but make no mistake, we will get through this."

October 21: 8.20am: AEST

More than 250 firefighters have spent the night back burning around the State Mine fire near Lithgow, the ABC reports.

Hot and windy conditions are forecast today.

Meanwhile, the Department of Defence has admitted that explosives training was being carried out at the Marangaroo Army Base when the blaze began.

The fire has now burnt out nearly 40,000 hectares.

Inspector John Bennett from the Lithgow Rural Fire Service (RFS) told the ABC there's still a lot of active fire around Bilpin and Bell.

"That's where we've got out concentration," he said.

"Today's crews their tasking will be to mop up, patrol and obviously air attack on the fire that's still running.

"It hasn't broken containment lines overnight, so it's held.

"But we've got some concerns with this upcoming weather forecast we've got in the next couple of days."

October 21: 7.29am: AEST

October 21: 6.08am: AEST

New South Wales authorities fear three large bushfires burning in the Blue Mountains could merge in worsening conditions over the next few days, the ABC reports.

A state of emergency is in effect across the state, giving authorities powers to forcibly remove people, cut electricity and water supplies, and shore up or demolish buildings.

Authorities have warned of an unparalleled fire emergency and say a potential mega-fire could stretch across hundreds of kilometres.

Since the emergency began last Thursday, more than 200 homes have been destroyed and one man died defending the home.

October 20: 5.27pm: AEST

A state of emergency has been declared in New South Wales as authorities plan for the possibility of a massive bushfire that could threaten the entire Blue Mountains region in the coming days.

New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell says the declaration will give emergency services additional powers over the next 30 days, including cutting gas and power supplies if needed.

"We're planning for the worst but hoping for the best," he told reporters this afternoon.

NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons says they are dealing with "unparalleled conditions" and the situation is extremely serious.

"The potential is for the entire Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury, including places like Kurrajong, to be at risk over the coming days," he said.

More to come. ABC

October 20: 5pm: AEST

Victoria's contingent of fire fighters battling the NSW blaze will be replaced by a fresh crew.

Victoria's fire services commissioner Craig Lapsley says a 120-strong replacement crew will leave Victoria for NSW on Monday.

The crew will replace the fire fighting team Victoria sent last week and will begin work from Tuesday to Thursday helping the NSW effort.

The contingent includes 100 Country Fire Authority (CFA) fire fighters and 20 incident management experts from the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB), CFA, Department of Environment and Primary Industries and Parks Victoria.

Mr Lapsley says NSW authorities will inform Victoria on Monday whether further assistance is needed.

"This week in NSW there's a critical couple of days," he said.

"Tuesday and Wednesday is the real critical fire weather. There could be a chance NSW could ask for more."

The contingent of Victorian crews has been drawn from northern and central Victoria.

South Australia sent a crew of 51 and Tasmania a team of 20 staff.

A Tasmania Fire Service spokesman said crews would be deployed for six days until Thursday, but could not comment on whether further crews would be replaced.

A SA Metropolitan Fire Service spokesman said a request had been received from NSW for more troops and it would send another six replacing 12 coming home on Tuesday.

He said he was unable to comment on the team of 40 from the SA Country Fire Service, who could not be contacted. AAP

October 20: 3.08pm: AEST

People in Bell are being told to leave the small Blue Mountains township, while others are warned they may be isolated for days as a large bushfire burns in the region.

The fire, which has scorched almost 38,000 hectares of bush and scrub, sparked Sunday afternoon's call for all unprepared residents to leave their homes and to head to Lithgow.

Those in the nearby village of Bilpin, as well as the communities of Mt Tomah and Berambing, are also being advised to relocate immediately to Richmond.

Those locals between Mountain Lagoon Road and Bowens Creek Road in Bilpin Village who wish to stay have been warned that they may become isolated.

The Rural Fire Service (RFS) have told residents that their properties need to be properly prepared because electricity to the area may be cut off for several days.

Meanwhile, people in Mt Irvine and Mt Wilson, just west of Bilpin, are being told to stay in place since there is fire burning along access roads.

These residents are also being told to prepare for a number of days of isolation.

The RFS advised people to try and stay with family and friends if possible, but evacuation centres have been set up in Richmond and Lithgow for when that is not an option.

For people living along Bells Line of Road, which runs along the region, the Department of Primary Industry said they can temporarily relocate their pets and livestock to the Hawkesbury Show Ground in Clarendon or to Lithgow Workers Club.

Animals should be brought along with their cages, food and medication, where required. AAP

October 20: 13:50pm: AEST

October 20: 13:13pm: AEST

AAP reports, two more teams from the ACT Rural Fire Service are heading to the Blue Mountains to help NSW firefighters.

The teams will leave Canberra tomorrow, replacing the first group of firefighters deployed last week.

October 20: 13:00pm: AEST

Plenty of bush fire information coming in via Social Media.

October 20: 12:55m:

October 20: 12:48m:

October 20: 12:25m:

RFS and other emergency services are, once again, urging NSW residents to stay up to date with the latest fire information.

Radio, television and Social Media updates are all good ways to stay abreast of the situation.

You can follow @NSWRFS on Twitter, or visit this webpage: http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/

October 20: 11:45m:

October 20: 11:10m:

RFS and NSW Police say residents could be forcibly evacuated from their homes, as "unparalleled" fires continue to rage across the state.

Danger and risk levels like this were last witnessed in the late 1960's.

"We want houses standing, but if they're not standing, we don't want bodies in them."

October 20: 10:38m:

NSW RFS commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons expects conditions to worsen over the next few days, the ABC reports.

He says Wednesday will be the worst day for fires, based on current weather forecasts.

"We've seen some extraordinary devastation and destruction already in recent days and there is very real potential for a whole lot more to come as we look down this week. Right now, there is planning and decisions being made with a view to start broadcasting information and messages to large areas of the communities that are likely to come under threat throughout today and planning and contingencies in place for those communities likely to come under threat in coming days," he said.

October 20: 10:35m:

October 20: 9:32m:

October 20: 9:30am:

AAP reports some Blue Mountains residents are prepared to stay and defend their properties.

Matt Stephens and his family live on two hectares in Sun Valley, which is about a kilometre from the Yellow Rock fire.

"I went out and bought a new water pump yesterday and spent about four hours getting it set up so we can get water from the dam and the swimming pool," Mr Stephens said.

"I've cleared every bit of leaf litter I can find.

"We have about 50 metres of lawn at the back of the house and the front basically goes straight on to the road, so I'm hopeful (things will be alright)."

October 20: 8:50am: According to the NSW RFS, conditions have eased in the Linksview Road and Springwood areas and the fire has been downgraded to Watch and Act.

The blaze has already burned 2,500 hectares of bush land and destroyed 193 homes.

October 20: 8:15am: Some great advice and vision from the NSW RFS.

October 20: 8:00am:
Homes in the Blue Mountains remain under threat, according to the Rural Fire Service.

Fire conditions are expected to worsen today.

Watch and act warning remain in place for four fires, including Balmoral Village, Springwood near Lithgow and Mt Victoria.

RFS spokesman Russell Taylor says all possible crews, more than 1,500 fire fighters, will be deployed today, the ABC reports.

Backburning was undertaken overnight to strengthen containment lines.

October 19: 5:30pm:


October 19: 4:45pm:
A Watch and Act warning has been issued for a fire near Mount York Road at Mount Victoria in the upper Blue Mountains, ABC reports.

The fire is burning in the Grose Valley and is approaching the Great Western Highway from the north near Berghoffers Pass.

The Great Western Highway will remain open unless affected by the fire.

Meanwhile, firefighters at Lithgow are working to stop the blaze spreading to the southern half of the Blue Mountains.

The fire has jumped the Bells Line of Road, the ABC reports. It has already burnt through nearly 30,000 hectares; the perimeter of the active fire is more than 200 kilometres.

October 19: 3:20pm:
The Lithgow fire is now moving towards Bilpin, ABC reports.

The RFS says it's too late for people in Bell, Dargan, and the west side of Mountain Lagoon Road to evacuate. Anyone in these areas should seek shelter.

Residents east of Mountain Lagoon Road, on the Kurrajong side, should leave immediately if the path is clear towards Kurrajong.

October 19: 2:50pm:
There is a total fire ban in place in Sydney, Hunter Valley, Illawarra/Shoalhaven, and Central Rangers.

Hospital Evacuated: The Springwood hospital has been evacuated, ABC reports.

Clair Ramsden from the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District says the evacuation is a precautionary measure due to worsening weather conditions over the next few days.

Twenty-four patients and 17 staff have been moved to the Nepean Private Hospital.

"Next of kin have been contacted to advise them that their loved ones are safe and are moving out of the area," Ms Ramsden says. "The rehabilitation and palliative care patients will be accommodated together in one ward. Maintenance personnel are on site to lock down and monitor the hospital.

"The Springwood bush fire continues to burn out of control. At present Springwood Hospital is not under direct threat from the fire – today’s evacuation is pre-emptive."

October 19: 2:07pm:
Residents in Bell, Dargan, Berambing, and Biplin have been told it is too late to leave the Lithgow area. The RFS has told them to take shelter where possible.

Two skycranes are in action in Springwood where an emergency warning has been issued. An evacuation centre is open at the Springwood sports club.

Watch and Act alerts remain in the Southern Highlands, Mt Victoria, and Wyong.

October 19: 2:00pm:
Bushfire information for deaf or hearing impaired people can be found at Media Access Australia.

October 19: 1:45pm:
An emergency warning has been issued for the Springwood area. Emergency warnings are still in place for the State Mine fire at Lithgow.

A Watch and Act alert has also been issued for the Mt Victoria fire.

October 19: 12:00pm:
The RFS has upgraded the warning for the State Mine fire in Lithgow. People near Bell and Dargon should seek shelter immediately.

October 19: 11:55am:
An emergency warning has been issued for Bell in the Blue Mountains. The RFS is urging residents to take shelter.

October 19: 11:45am:
NSW premier Barry O'Farrell has been confronted by a Central Coast resident who says she almost died in a bushfire due to insufficient backburning, AAP reports.

Sandra Kay approached Mr O'Farrell as he visited fire ravaged areas in Wyong on Saturday.

"Excuse me Mr O'Farrell, I almost died on Thursday night, the reason being National Parks and Wildlife does not do perimeter burning on their property," the middle-aged Crangan Bay resident said.

"My house has been threatened twice in the last ten years from the south mainly because National Parks and Wildlife is not doing their job."

Mr O'Farrell replied that a "huge amount" of backburning had been carried out in the area but said he would take her concerns to the local council and to parliament.

October 19: 10.35am:
The Defence department has launched an investigation into the State Mine bushfire that started on Wednesday.

"Defence is investigating if the two events are linked," it said in a statement.

"The ongoing investigation... will review both the incident and Defence procedures."

October 19: 10.35am:
NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell has arrived at the Central Coast where he is being briefed on the bushfire situation. Mr O'Farrell is being given a rundown by Rural Fire Service (RFS) Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons at the Wyong command centre and will later brief the media and visit residents. The Wyong fire has burnt more than 2500 hectares, damaged historic buildings in Catherine Hill Bay and caused the death of a 63-year-old man who suffered a heart attack defending his home in Munmorah. The fire has been downgraded from an emergency warning to a watch and act and is being controlled, the RFS said. The threat to properties in north Chain Valley Bay, Gwandalan and Summerland Point has reduced but a threat remains to properties in Lake Munmorah. Firefighters are backburning in the Munmorah State conservation area.

October 19: 9:05am:
More than 300 properties in the Blue Mountains have been destroyed or damaged by bushfires, the NSW Rural Fire Service reports. AAP

After assessing 95 percent of the fireground in Springwood and Winmalee, the RFS has established that 193 properties have been destroyed and 109 have been damaged.

The number is expected to increase as other areas are assessed over the weekend.

October 18: 8:45pm:
All emergency warnings have been downgraded to Watch and Act status or lower. However, the RFS is encouraging residents to stay alert and heed evacuation warnings issued in their area.

A grass fire at Badgerys creek has been contained, but more than 20 fires continue to burn uncontained across NSW.

More than 2,000 firefighters are battling blazes across the state, with cooling temperatures and a drop in wind speeds providing some relief.

For the latest information and help visit:

NSW Rural Fire Service www.rfs.nsw.gov.au

Bureau of Meteorology www.bom.gov.au

October 18: 7:40pm:
At least 48 properties in Yellow Rock have been destroyed, reports Fairfax.

Lake Munmorah resident Walter Linder, 63, died from a suspected heart attack while trying to defend his house from the fire.

Mr Linder refused to leave when Lake Munmorah was evacuated. He stopped the fire at his back fence but collapsed and died a short time later.

October 18: 7:15pm:
Residents who escaped the oncoming blaze have described flames and thick plumes of black smoke surrounding them as they tried to evacuate.

Blue Mountains resident Catherine Hubbard told AAP she had been sleeping as the fire crept towards her house.

A phone call from a worried colleague alerted her to the danger.

"I hung up and said 'I'll be fine'," she said.

"But when I went out and checked outside my veranda there was a tree alight and fire all around the backyard."

She ran to strangers on the street and asked if she could take shelter at their home.

"The sun was totally blocked out and houses were burning down to the ground all around us," she said.

With no running water they used buckets and wet towels to douse embers around the house.

A sudden change in the wind cleared a path in the smoke and Ms Hubbard was able to move to safety.

When she returned home on Friday she found her house destroyed by the fire. She says she will take her children back to their old home on Saturday "to give them closure".

"This will be a fresh start for us," Ms Hubbard said.

"We're a pretty resilient family."

October 18: 6:50pm:
RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons is asking residents to remain vigilant as fires continue to burn across NSW, ABC reports.

"We've got six fires still at watch-and-act level, and that's because fire is still very active in and around these fire grounds and as we saw today, circumstances can change," Mr Fitzsimmons says. "A fire can flare up and run up a valley system, it can get a breath of wind behind it and fan the flames forward.

"That's why they're at watch and act. People need to be remaining vigilant."

Mr Fitzsimmmons says a reprieve is expected tomorrow before a frontal system moves across the state.

"Our main concern is we've only got a small window of opportunity, principally tomorrow, before we see the onset of another frontal system that's going to move across NSW.

"Now while we're not expecting it to be quite what we saw yesterday obviously, but we are expecting to see temperatures rise back into the 30s, very low humidities with a north-westerly influence coming across a large tract of NSW, albeit that those winds are not expected to be anywhere near the strength we saw the other day."

October 18: 6:03pm:
The sun is setting in NSW while more than 20 bushfires continue to burn uncontained across the state. The worst hit areas so far are in the Blue Mountains where more than 81 homes have been destroyed.

Twitter users uploaded pictures and videos of the devastation throughout the day.

A CFA member helps thirsty koala.

This video shows dense smoke filling the sky

The fires reduced homes and buildings to charred rubble.

October 18: 5:32pm:
RFS has assesed 30 percent of the Winmalee and Springwood areas and determined that 81 homes have been destroyed and 37 have been damaged by fires.

October 18: 4:40pm:
The latest fire map shows some fires have been downgraded to Watch and Act.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott visited Winmalee in the Blue Mountains earlier today where he praised the work of emergency services personnel.

"How proud we are of the thousands of volunteers and full-time professionals who are out there keeping our community safe on a difficult day," he said.

Mr Abbott also gave his condolences to those affected by the fires.

"I just want to say how sorry we are, on behalf of the people and the Parliament of Australia, for the heartache which so many hundreds of people in NSW are currently dealing with."

October 18: 3:26pm:
Centrelink says adults whose homes were destroyed by the fires are eligible for $1000, children are eligible for $400. Mobile Centrelink centres are running in areas affected by bushfires.

Schools Evacuated
St Columba's High School was evacuated earlier today as a fire closed in around it.

The ABC spoke to St Columba's student Emily Symons who said students were sent into lockdown mode after lunch.

"We stayed in there for about an hour", Ms Symons said. "The smoke was horrendous. They had to seal the doors and shut the windows. Several kids in my year have lost their homes. It's pretty devastating."

According to the St Columba's website the school will be closed Monday and Tuesday.

October 18: 3:26pm:
The Springwood fire has been downgraded to from Emergency to Watch and Act.

More than 80 homes have been lost in the Spingwood/Winmalee/Yellow Rock region, News Limited reports.

Blue Mountains crime Manager Detective Inspector Mick Bostock says Rural Fire Service crews will work into the night on Friday.

"The RFS has done and the volunteers have done a fantastic job with this fire," Detective Inspector Bostock said.

"It's the most houses we've had affected," he said. "Look obviously the community is devastated but there is strong community spirit. This community is resilient and will bounce back from this."

October 18: 3:58pm:
FIRE UPDATE: There are 96 fires burning, with 28 uncontained, Channel 7 reports.

Students at Springwood High have been evacuated due to an expected ember attack later today, ABC reports.

Meanwhile, a fire is heading towards St Columba's school, which was evacuated on Friday due to the fire threat.

The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting four days of temperatures in the 30s for Sydney's west starting Sunday. Temperatures are expected to reach 38 degrees on Monday, with the possibility of showers on Tuesday.

Emergency contact numbers:

October 18: 3:13pm:
Emergency services say warnings for the Leppington and Wyong fires have been downgraded to a "watch and act" status.

However, an emergency warning is still in place for Springwood and Faulconbridge.

The Wyong area fire has burnt through 2,000 hectares and destroyed dozens of homes, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

While many residents have evacuated safely, seven people are in hospital, the ABC reports.

Centrelink has set an emergency response number for residents who have lost their property in the NSW bushfire: 1802266.

October 18: 2:20pm:
Here is an updated map of fire emergency warnings.



Meanwhile, about 550 claims totaling $30 million have been lodged since the fires broke out on Thursday, many for total loss of properties, AAP reports.

"We expect this will rise quite sharply over coming days and weeks," Insurance Council of Australia spokesman Campbell Fuller told reporters on Friday.

October 18: 2:20pm:
Power has been cut to thousands of residents after a water-bombing helicopter became tangled in power lines.



About 550 claims totaling $30 million have been lodged since the fires broke out on Thursday, many for total loss of properties, AAP reports.

"We expect this will rise quite sharply over coming days and weeks," Insurance Council of Australia spokesman Campbell Fuller told reporters on Friday.

October 18: 2:00pm:
An emergency alert has been issued for Leppington. The fire is burning towards Bringelly Road, ABC reports.



Meanwhile, a historical house, built in 1887, was reduced to charred ruins after the fire ripped through the Catherine Hill Bay property. The house had just been placed on the market for the first time in 126 years, AAP reports.

October 18: 1:57pm:
A water-bombing helicopter is entangled in power lines in Wyong, News Limited reports.

October 18: 1:04pm:
An aerial image shows bushland ravaged by the fire.

October 18: 12:32pm:
An evacuation alert has been issued for Linksview Road, Spingwood. Emergency services are asking residents to leave immediately. ABC

October 18: 12.05pm:
Authorities are optimistic that a fire burning in rugged country in the Eurobodalla on the New South Wales far south coast could be under control by this afternoon. ABC

October 18: 11.59am:
The RFS has reissued an emergency warning for a fire burning in the Wyong area on the NSW central coast and urging residents to take shelter. AAP

October 18: 11.32am:
Prime Minister Tony Abbott will on Friday visit one of the NSW communities devastated by bushfires raging out of control across the state. AAP

MORE TO COME

October 18: 8.52am:
A 63-year-old man has died while protecting his home at Lake Munmorah.

October 18: 8.40am:
The Mayor of the Blue Mountains has described suburbs hit by yesterday's bushfires as a "scene of utter devastation". ABC

October 18: 8.17am:
Victoria is sending 130 firefighters and specialists to help the NSW bushfire emergency. ABC

October 17:
A home is ablaze, a regional air port is closed and authorities are warning of a serious threat to life as bushfires burn across NSW. (AAP)

October 17: 4.35pm:
NSW residents are suffering through another day of dangerous bushfires with the Hunter, Central West and Southern Highlands under immediate threat. (ABC)

 

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