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Bushfires cut off South Coast communities as 90km/h wind gusts forecast

The Currowan fire has almost doubled in size after being whipped up by westerly winds, and is moving quickly in an easterly direction towards the coast.

The Rural Fire Service (RFS) said early on Monday morning that spot fires had crossed over the Princes Highway, resulting in the road being closed between Termeil and the Kings Highway – cutting access to coastal communities in the area.

Firefighters battling spot fires at the Braidwood blaze in southeastern NSW on Sunday.

Firefighters battling spot fires at the Braidwood blaze in southeastern NSW on Sunday. Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

An emergency warning issued late on Sunday remains in place on Monday, with residents between Kiola and North Durras urged to seek shelter after the highway closure meant it was too late to leave.

The RFS had earlier urged residents in the coastal communities of Durras, Pebbly Beach, Depot Beach, Pretty Beach and Bawley Point to evacuate either north towards Ulladulla or south towards Batemans Bay. It is now too late to leave those areas.

An evacuation centre had been set up at Ulladulla Civic Centre, with another one to be opened in Batemans Bay.

Smoke from fires is affecting large areas of NSW, including the Sydney area. The smoke is being blown under westerly winds from fires in the Hawkesbury, Blue Mountains and Wollondilly areas.

On Monday morning, two other fires are burning at “watch and act” warning level, both near Wollondilly south-west of Sydney. All other fires are at “advice”.

RFS spokesman James Morris said the 1900 firefighters battling blazes across the state were facing challenging “hot and windy” conditions this week.

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“Up until Wednesday it looks like there will be quite a bit of smoke around,” Mr Shabren said.

From Monday, he said “it will become quite windy and there will be a bit more smoke around metropolitan and Greater Sydney”.

Mr Shabren said dust will also affect air quality as winds pick up on Monday.

“The dust might linger around and move to the coast as well, not so much in the city itself but in the south,” he said.

Mr Morris from the RFS said the wind on Monday was likely to prevent smoke settling in the Sydney basin overnight as it has done in recent weeks.

Monday’s forecast for Sydney is 23 degrees for the CBD and Penrith, with gusty westerly winds.

Two million hectares of land have been burnt since July in more than 7000 fires which have raged across the state this bushfire season.

Six people have died while 673 homes and 1400 other buildings have been destroyed.

With Pallavi Singhal, AAP

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