National

Sleepless night for fire-wary Blue Mtns

By AAP Newswire

Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill endured a "sleepless night" after his region was included in the catastrophic bushfire warning issued for NSW.

The NSW Rural Fire Service briefed Blue Mountains City Council on Tuesday morning on its enhanced powers to manage outbreaks in the fire-prone area during the next seven days.

Emerging from the gathering at Katoomba's Emergency Operations Centre, NSW RFS Superintendent Paul Jones said anyone in high-risk areas planning to leave should do so immediately.

He said all eight fire stations in the Blue Mountains were ready for deployment and NSW Parks and Wildlife firefighters were on standby.

"The fire is (expected to be) catastrophic and very fast-moving and very aggressive and you need to be in a safe place," Supt Jones told reporters.

"If you plan to stay and defend, seriously consider that."

The catastrophic fire danger rating - the highest possible - is in place for the Greater Sydney, Greater Hunter and Illawarra-Shoalhaven areas, having been declared on Monday.

A total fire ban affects the Blue Mountains, with signs lining the Great Western Highway displaying the "catastrophic" warning level.

Outside the operation centre in Katoomba, strong winds howled constantly.

"If anything does happen today or tomorrow, the entire resources of the council will be available to RFS and we will do whatever we are asked to do," Mr Greenhill told AAP.

He said his community was well seasoned in bushfire dangers after the devastating October 2013 blazes that razed more than 200 homes across Springwood and Mount Victoria.

Mr Greenhill on Monday implored local residents to think long and hard overnight about their plan of action.

For those whose options involved heading out of the area, he urged them to follow through.

Blackheath-based firefighter Peter on Monday said the local station was braced for tough weather conditions.

"It basically comes back to knowing there's bad weather tomorrow so everybody's being very vigilant. I hope it's a quiet day for us," he told AAP.

More than 50 fires are burning across NSW, with 26 uncontained. Thirteen are at "watch and act" level.

Temperatures in the high 30s, low humidity and winds of up to 80 km/h coupled with the drought mean the NSW faces "horrendous conditions", according to the NSW RFS.