Firefighters will enforce a total fire ban across the state on Monday and Tuesday, warning the Hunter is expected to experience the highest possible level of fire danger on Tuesday, when maximum temperatures are forecast to hit 38 degrees and wind speeds up to 40 kilometres per hour.
A statement from the NSW Rural Fire Service said "catastrophic" fire danger is forecast on Tuesday in the Hunter and Greater Sydney, with high temperatures, strong winds and low humidity all contributing to worsening weather conditions.
Winds are expected to reach up to 40 kilometres per hour on Tuesday in the Hunter, with maximum temperatures expected to reach 35 on the coast, 37 in land and 38 further west in Singleton and Muswellbrook.
NSW RFS warned that if a fire takes hold during catastrophic fire danger conditions, lives and homes in the region will be at risk.
The firefighters advised that residents avoid bush fire prone areas, saying safer areas might be large towns or cities, shopping centres and facilities away from bush.
"If you are unable to leave, identify a safe location which may be nearby. This may include a Neighbourhood Safer Place," the statement said.
The service advised schools in high-risk areas will be closed on Tuesday if the catastrophic rating is maintained.
NSW RFS said fires burning on the north coast and northern NSW areas will not be contained by Tuesday, and are burning in areas forecast to experience "severe" and "extreme" fire danger on that day.
"These fires will not be contained in time and will threaten lives and properties," the service said.
Based on latest forecasts from the Bureau of Meteorology, the following fire danger ratings are expected on Tuesday. These are subject to change as forecasts are updated:
- Catastrophic - Greater Sydney and Greater Hunter (including the Blue Mountains and Central Coast areas)
- Extreme - North Coast, Illawarra/Shoalhaven, Central Ranges, Northern Slopes and North Western
- Severe - Far North Coast, New England, Far South Coast, Southern Ranges, Lower Central West Plains
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