Bushfires burn out of control in NSW, school evacuated

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Firefighters spent Friday battling several blazes in NSW, with schools evacuated, homes threatened and former PM Tony

bushfires-burn-out-of-control-in-nsw-school-evacuated photo 1 Video: Bushfire at Richmond Vale (ABC News)

Firefighters battled to bring several blazes under control on a hot and windy day in New South Wales with schools evacuated, homes threatened and former prime minister Tony Abbott also joining the efforts.

The NSW Rural Fire Service [NSW RFS] has been working to contain a blaze burning near Tuncurry on the mid-north coast, where about 500 students were evacuated from a high school.

The fire was burning in the area of the Lakes Way, near Tuncurry Golf Course.

Despite conditions easing, the NSW RFS warned people in the areas of Racecourse Estate and North Tuncurry to seek shelter if the fire impacts on their property.

bushfires-burn-out-of-control-in-nsw-school-evacuated photo 2 Photo: An emergency warning was issued for this blaze near Tuncurry on the mid-north coast. (Facebook: Great Lakes Children's Centre)

Meanwhile, at Woodlands on the south coast, a bushfire has been burning out of control and some residents were told to leave.

The fire was burning in the area of Dunns Creek Road and moving in an easterly direction.

External Link: Tweet by @NSWRFS: #NSWRFS helicopter over fire at Lakes Way at Tuncurry. Fire burning towards Racecourse Estate and North Tuncurry.

The NSW RFS said properties in the areas of Ivy Place, Grace Close, Worthy Drive and Burri Road may come under threat.

Richmond Vale fire

Earlier, the NSW RFS said the threat to properties at Richmond Vale in the Hunter, where a blaze had been burning out of control during the afternoon, had eased.

However, they warned people to monitor the situation.

The fire, fanned by 60 kilometre-per-hour winds, burnt approximately 700 hectares of bushland in the area around Leggetts Drive.

Several road closures were in place in the area.

The fire caused substantial damage at the former Richmond Main Colliery which is a heritage-listed building and is now home to a railway museum.

bushfires-burn-out-of-control-in-nsw-school-evacuated photo 3 Photo: Firefighters work to protect a property in Richmond Vale. (ABC News: Declan Gooch)

Museum director Graham Smith told the ABC some artefacts had already been lost.

"It appears that our complete line of restored four wheel coal hoppers has been destroyed and a stainless steel passenger carriage has been destroyed," he said.

"The number one bridge under the railway line from Richmond Main to Pelaw Main is also on fire."

Mr Smith said railway museum volunteers took shelter in a building as the fire approached.

Another blaze is burning at Black Hill, just east of Richmond Vale, with a watch and act alert in place.

bushfires-burn-out-of-control-in-nsw-school-evacuated photo 4 Photo: The fire at Richmond Vale caused damage at the railway museum. (ABC News: Colin Kerr)

It is burning to the west of the M1 Motorway and there are several properties along Black Hill Road which may come under threat, NSW RFS said.

Those in the area should leave now if the path is clear, but if the fire impacts property — seek shelter.

Waterbomber 'Thor' sent in

bushfires-burn-out-of-control-in-nsw-school-evacuated photo 5 Photo: A firefighter battles the blaze at Richmond Vale in the NSW Hunter region. (ABC News: Colin Kerr)

Emergency alert telephone warning messages were being sent to people in the area and firefighters were working to slow the spread of fire.

The RFS' waterbombing tanker Thor has been battling the blaze.

Meanwhile, on the northern beaches in Sydney, a fire at Beacon Hill which started on Tuesday flared up again.

Aircraft and crews, including former prime minister Tony Abbott, were fighting the blaze but there was no immediate threat to homes.

bushfires-burn-out-of-control-in-nsw-school-evacuated photo 6 Photo: Former prime minister and Warringah MP Tony Abbott lends a hand to fight the blaze at Beacon Hill. (ABC News: Ben Worsley)

Mr Abbott, the MP for Warringah, was granted leave in Parliament today in order to carry out the volunteer firefighter work.

Winds were forecast to strengthen in the region and the mercury has passed 32C.

A total fire ban is still in force across Sydney, the Hunter, North Coast and north western areas.

bushfires-burn-out-of-control-in-nsw-school-evacuated photo 7 Photo: The C-130 Hercules called Thor has been sent to Richmond Vale to fight the blaze. (ABC News: Nick Dole)

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