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NSW bushfires destroy homes

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Bushfires have destroyed homes in NSW as they burn out of control across northern parts of the state amid hot, dry and windy conditions.

NSW is the latest hotspot in a burst of bushfires in the region, with emergency crews also working to contain blazes in Tasmania and in New Zealand.

The NSW Rural Fire Service says a blaze on the Tingha Plateau near Inverell has burnt more than 5600 hectares. It is spreading quickly and in multiple directions.

“There is an immediate threat to lives and properties,” it says in an emergency warning this afternoon. “There are reports of properties being damaged or destroyed.”

Strengthening winds in the north of the state also caused authorities to issue an emergency warning for the Bruxner Highway fire west of Tabulam, between Casino and Tenterfield. The fire had earlier destroyed five properties and has burnt more than 2700 hectares.

“There is an increase in fire activity across the western edge of the fire,” the RFS says. “Crews are working to protect properties in the area. Firefighters will be supported by waterbombing aircraft.”

A blaze north of Tamworth was not yet under control late this afternoon as deteriorating weather conditions increased the threat, while a blaze in the Jennings area on the border with Queensland was being closely watched after burning more than 2500 hectares.

Weather conditions are forecast to improve tomorrow after a cold front moves up from southern parts of the state.

Meanwhile, Tasmanian emergency services continue to fight and patrol more than 30 bushfires, even as snow has fallen in parts of the state following a cool change.

Tasmania Fire Services says recent rain has slowed the progression of several blazes that could still flare up if hotter and windy weather return.

And in New Zealand, firefighters were working today to secure containment lines and extinguish hotspots from a fire in the Pigeon Valley in the Nelson area in the northwest of the South Island. The current fire perimeter is around 33km, covering 2400 hectares.

“Residents who have suffered property damage or evacuation due to the Nelson fires are being advised to take care when returning to their properties and to get in touch with their insurer,” ICNZ said.