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LIVE COVERAGE: Salt Ash Bushfire

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LIVE COVERAGE: Salt Ash Bushfire Awaba Rural Fire Brigade

6:46am Monday

Firefighters have worked through the night on the Salt Ash bushfire which has been downgraded to the ADVICE level.

Crews continued back burning near Lemon Tree Passage Road overnight. The road remains open this morning.

Despite burning through 2016ha of bush thankfully we haven't lost any homes.

A caravan was destroyed at the Tanilba Bay Golf Course on Saturday night.

Strong winds are forecast today, but they shouldn't be as bad as yesterday's conditions.

5:47pm Sunday

Around 150 members of the Rural Fire service remain in the area ahead of back-burning operations commencing tonight near Lemon Tree Passage and Brownes Roads.

It's understood Lemon Tree Passage has just reopened.

Thankfully there's been no reported losses of any homes or properties - however a LOT of work is needed ahead of Westerly winds picking up tomorrow.

4:34pm

The RFS has downgraded the Salt Ash inferno to WATCH AND ACT.

It's being controlled after a massive effort from firefighters this afternoon.

4:03pm

The RFS has confirmed there's been no reported losses of any homes in Salt Ash - however the blaze remains at EMERGENCY WARNING level and is yet to be contained.

Westerly winds have been fanning the flames for most of the day with property protection still focused around Rookes, Lemon Tree Passage and Brownes Roads.

The fire has now burnt through close to 2,000 hectares, however fire activity is slowly starting to die down.

Photo: NINE

2:57pm

Firefighters have been hard at work dealing with strong westerly winds fanning the flames at Salt Ash - with gusts in the area reaching close to 60 Km/hr an hour.

The winds aren't expected to fall until at least 7pm. 

1:41pm

The Salt Ash fire continues to be fanned by strong westerly winds. 

It's now more than 1730 hectares in size. 

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12:57pm

Lemon Tree Passage Road has just been closed. 

There's also concerns about embers being blown well ahead of the fire, creating spot fires and threatening property before the main fire front arrives.

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12:31pm

The fire has now been upgraded to EMERGENCY WARNING level. 

Strong westerly winds are impacting the fire ground and increasing fire activity in Salt Ash.

The fire is now burning towards Rookes Road, Lemon Tree Passage Road and Brownes Road.

Lemon Tree Passage Road is now open but may close as short notice. Motorists should exercise caution as firefighters continue to work in the area and visibility reduced due to smoke.

Currently there are no confirmed reports of property loss or damage.

Emergency alert telephone messages have been sent to people in the area.

If you are in the area of Salt Ash near Rookes Road, Lemon Tree Passage Road and Brownes Road take shelter as the fire approaches. It is too late to leave.

Take shelter in a solid structure to protect yourself from the heat of the fire.

People in the areas of Tilligerry, Tanilba Bay, Mallabula and Lemon Tree Passage should continue to monitor the situation closely and remain vigilant.

Follow the advice of firefighters on the ground.

12:12pm

The fire has been upgraded to WATCH and ACT due to increased fire activity in Salt Ash near Rookes Road, Lemon Tree Passage Road and Brownes Road.

Lemon Tree Passage Road is now open but may close at short notice.

The RFS is advising residents in that area to put their bush fire survival plan into action NOW.

If you do not have a bush fire survival plan, know what you will do if the fire threatens. Leaving early is your safest option.

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11:57am

The wind is getting stronger, causing fire activity to increase at Tanilba Bay over the past 30 minutes.

The fire is still listed at ADVICE, with the RFS saying it's 'being controlled'.

It's burnt through 1535ha.

Here's the view from KOFM at Honeysuckle.

9:21am

Firefighters are consolidating back burning around the fire at Tanilba Bay, ahead of strong winds returning.

Their focus is along Lemon Tree Passage Road near the Tanilba Bay Aquatic Centre and Rutile Road near Tanilba Avenue.

As a result, residents may notice increased fire activity.

Water bombers are back up in the air helping ground crews.

6:45am Sunday

Relief for the Tilligerry peninsula this morning, with firefighters saving homes from being destroyed by the Salt Ash bushfire.

It was touch and go last night as flames came within metres of properties at Tanilba Bay.

Lynda Watson

Thankfully conditions eased, allowing crews to carry out back burning.

The fire remains out of control however the warning level has been downgraded to ADVICE.

Lemon Tree Passage Road has re-opened, allowing people who were stuck all yesterday afternoon and last night to finally come and go.

Power and phone lines are also back up and running this morning.

The RFS is advising people in Tanilba Bay, Mallabula and Lemon Tree Passage to monitor the situation, especially as the wind picks up today with gale force winds forecast later on.

11:04pm Saturday

The fire at Tanilba Bay has been downgraded to Watch and Act thanks to easing conditions.

Police are now escorting drivers out on Lemon Tree Passage Road, however the road is yet to fully re-open.

10:27pm

The RFS says conditions have eased slightly on the fire front at Tanilba Bay.

Firefighters will take advantage of this change to start backburning along Oyster Farm Rd and Lemon Tree Passage Rd.

This will result in more fire activity. Crews will continue back burning as required.

9:44pm

Strong south westerly winds have seen increased fire activity on the Tilligerry peninsula, with homes under threat.

The fire is impacting the areas of Tanilba Bay, Mallabula and Lemon Tree Passage.

Residents are advised to seek shelter as the fire front approaches.

Under these conditions fires will be uncontrollable and move quickly. Flames may burn higher than roof tops. Embers will be blown ahead of the fire and create spot fires that can threaten earlier than the predicted main fire front. These spot fires can occur up to 4km ahead of the main fire.

Emergency alert telephone messages have been sent.

Power and telecommunications in the area are currently disrupted.

7:46pm

Firefighters are assisting the relocation of people and caravans from Koala Shores Port Stephens Caravan Park to the Lemon Tree Passage boat ramp, Henderson Park.

Strong winds are fanning the flames, lighting up the night time sky.

Here's the view from Swan Bay.

Sophia Wright

7:29pm

Power has been restored to the Tilligerry peninsula.

7:22pm

The southerly change has arrived at Salt Ash, causing fire activity to increase.

The bushfire is now moving in a north easterly direction towards Tanilba Bay, Mallabula and Lemon Tree Passage.

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Oyster Cove Road and Lemon Tree Passage remain closed, leaving hundreds of people trapped.

Emergency alert telephone messages have been sent to people in the area.

The RFS is telling people in Tanilba Bay, Mallabula and Lemon Tree Passage to shelter as the fire front approaches.

6:09pm

About 500 homes are without power on the Tilligerry peninsula. Ausgrid is warning power may not be restored until early Sunday morning.

5:16pm

The RFS says it's hoping to re-open Lemon Tree Passage Road and Oyster Cove Road as soon as it's safe.

Anyone in Tanilba Bay, Mallabula and Lemon Tree Passage wanting to leave, is urged to wait at Club Lemon Tree.

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4:52pm

3:36pm

An expected wind change may push the fire towards Tanilba Bay over the next few hours.

People in Tanilba Bay, Mallabula and Lemon Tree Passage are advised to put their Bushfire Survival Plan into action now.

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2:45pm

The RFS has issued this advice for residents stuck on the Tilligerry peninsula:

If you are visiting the Tanilba Bay, Mallabmla and Lemon Tree Passage areas and unable to leave due to road closures you can wait at the Tanilba Bay Bowling Club for further information on when the roads reopen.

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2:06pm

The RFS has released this aerial footage showing just how big the Salt Ash fire is.

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1:46pm

The fire has been upgraded to the EMERGENCY warning level. A text message has been sent out to people in the area.

Homes are under threat along Oyster Cove Road.

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1:33pm

The latest advice from the RFS:

If you are on Rookes Road or Lemon Tree Passage Road, south of Oyster Cove Road, put your Bush Fire Survival Plan into action now.

People in the Tanilba Bay, Mallabula and Lemon Tree Passage areas should be prepared to put their Bush Fire Survival Plans into action.

If your plan is to leave early, leave now towards Nelson Bay Road.

1:20pm

The fire has now burnt through 511 hectares. Oyster Cove Road and Lemon Tree Passage Road both remain closed.

12:35pm Saturday

The Salt Ash bushfire has been upgraded to Watch and Act due to strengthening winds.

The RFS says firefighters are in place to undertake property protection.

People on the eastern side of Tilligerry Creek, on Marsh Road at Bobs Farm, may experience smoke and ash.

Raymond Terrace Fire & Rescue

Residents around Brownes Road, Rookes Road should continue to monitor the situation.

Oyster Cove Road is closed. Lemon Tree Passage Road is closed.

Residents in Rookes Road or Lemon Tree Passage Road, south of Oyster Cove Road, are being advised to put their Bush Fire Survival Plan into action now.

If your plan is to leave early, leave now towards Nelson Bay Road.

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5:41pm Friday

Firefighters have finally got the upper hand with the Salt Ash blaze downgraded to ADVICE level thanks to cooler conditions. 

However the RFS will still spend tonight working to contain the inferno. 

5:22pm

The Rural Fire Service continues to battle the inferno at Salt Ash - which is yet to be controlled.

It's been moving in a northerly direction towards Oyster Cove - however there's no homes under any immediate threat and no road closures in the area.

Residents near Rookes Road are still urged to keep a close eye on developments.

The fire has created a huge plume of smoke in the area after it burning through more than 105 hectares.

Water-bombing aircraft have been working throughout the afternoon - and it's hoped cooler temps tonight will help ground crews planning back-burning operations. 

Ryan John Noon took these photos from Oyster Cove. 

4pm

The RFS just posted this from the Salt Ash fire. 

3:56pm

Water-bombing aircraft have been busy at the Salt Ash fire this afternoon. 

It's now moving in a northerly direction towards Oyster Cove.

Residents near Rookes Road are being urged to monitor the situation. 

The fire is estimated to be somewhere between 105 hectares in size. 

3:15pm

There's plenty of smoke coming from the Salt Ash fire at the minute.

There's no road closures in place as yet - but be careful driving through the area and watch out for emergency vehicles. 

2:37pm

The Salt Ash fire has just been upgraded to WATCH AND ACT. 

It's now moving in a south-easterly direction toward Rookes Road. 

RFS crews are in position to protect homes along Rookes Road if needed. 

The fire is around 16 hectares in size and continues to burn out of control. 

2:25pm

Water-bombing aircraft are being deployed to the area after the fire broke containment lines. 

However the Rural Fire Service is confident of getting the fire contained this afternoon. 

1:27pm

 The Salt Ash fire is now around 16 hectares and is yet to be controlled.

A back-burning operation continues. 

Thankfully there's no current threat to any homes and no roads are closed.

Photo: RFS

1:13pm

The Rural Fire Service has begun a back-burning operation - which is throwing up a lot of smoke. 

It's still being controlled and is now around 14 hectares in size. 

11:56am

Firefighters are slowly gaining the upper hand on the bushfire burning at Salt Ash. 

The Rural Fire Service say the blaze is being controlled by several crews at the scene. 

It's burnt though around six hectares of land near Lemon Tree Passage Road.

10:36am

Firefighters are working on an out of control bushfire at Salt Ash, that's generating a large amount of smoke.

It's burning in Hunter Water land near Lemon Tree Passage Road.

An RFS spokesperson says eight crews are currently there.

It's not posing any threat to properties.

So far the fire has burnt through about six hectares of bush.

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