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Wind-driven NSW fires threaten properties

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Residents in the New England region and far north coast of NSW have been urged to seek shelter as firefighters battle several blazes that are spreading rapidly in strong and gusty winds.

A spokesman for the NSW Rural Fire Service told this afternoon there are no details yet on whether any properties have been damaged or destroyed.

"A number of fires in the north coast and northern NSW areas are becoming more intense and more dangerous," the service said on its Twitter feed.

"Some are creating their own weather conditions and pyrocumulous clouds are developing. These are extremely dangerous.”

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) is liaising with the fire service and insurers are closely monitoring the situation, spokesman Campbell Fuller told

“Insurers have been concerned about the high bushfire risk this season for some time,” he said.

As of 4pm today, 99 fires are burning across the state including 55 that are uncontained, the NSW Rural Fire Service says on its Twitter account.

It says 14 of these fires remain at the emergency warning level, and residents near where these blazes are burning have been urged to leave.

In the Hillville fire south of Taree, conditions have been described as dangerous and posing a risk to public safety.

Fires between Glen Innes and Tenterfield have closed the New England Highway, while a blaze at Woodford in the Blue Mountains remains uncontained.

Two bushfire catastrophes have already been declared by ICA in recent weeks with insured losses of at least $20 million.