NSW on alert as bushfire danger levels rise again

 

Fire danger in some parts of NSW has risen to severe as hot, dry, windy conditions put an end to a brief reprieve for bushfire-hit areas of the state.

Raging fires over the past week have claimed four lives and destroyed more than 300 homes.

While conditions eased following a "catastrophic" danger rating earlier in the week, the forecast of hot, dry weather once again poses a threat on Friday.

 

A severe fire danger rating is in place for the far north coast, north coast, Greater Hunter, Greater Sydney Region and Illawarra-Shoalhaven and large parts of the state are under total fire bans.

"Even though the situation has improved in many areas over the past couple of days, it's still volatile and important to continue to closely monitor," the Bureau of Meteorology NSW tweeted.

The fire at Bora Ridge burning southeast of Casino flared up to emergency level on Thursday, with eight others at "watch and act" level.

A CFA member who travelled to NSW to assist with the bushfire effort looks after a controlled backburn yesterday. Picture: Brett Hemmings/Getty Images
A CFA member who travelled to NSW to assist with the bushfire effort looks after a controlled backburn yesterday. Picture: Brett Hemmings/Getty Images

More than 1600 firefighters were battling some 60 bushfires on Thursday night, more than half of which were uncontained, the Rural Fire Service said.

As news broke that the death toll had risen to four, harrowing details emerged of the latest victim's frightening last hours.

Barry Parsons' body was discovered in bushland on the southern end of the Kyuna Track at Willawarrin, near Kempsey, on Wednesday night, five days after he was last seen.

More than 300 homes have been destroyed by fires, with Hillville badly hit. Picture: AAP/Darren Pateman
More than 300 homes have been destroyed by fires, with Hillville badly hit. Picture: AAP/Darren Pateman

The last post on a Facebook page in the 58-year-old's name described Friday's apocalyptic conditions.

"Seriously looks and sounds like apocolyse (sic) out there . F**ked up being on your own in these times," it read.

Mr Parsons had reportedly been living alone in a shed in the remote area.

Barry Parsons has been named as the fourth victim of the NSW bushfires. Picture: Facebook
Barry Parsons has been named as the fourth victim of the NSW bushfires. Picture: Facebook

News of his death follows that of Julie Fletcher, 63, who died in the town of Johns River, and Wytaliba locals Vivian Chaplain, 69, and elderly man George Nole.

About 60 schools will remain closed on Friday.

The Insurance Council of Australia said insurers had received 730 claim applications, with initial losses totalling $80 million.