UPDATE: Greta residents urged to seek shelter as bushfires continue around the Singleton region

ROAD CLOSURE: The New England Highway is closed in both directions between Range Road and Hermitage Road.
ROAD CLOSURE: The New England Highway is closed in both directions between Range Road and Hermitage Road.

UPDATE (4:30pm): An emergency warning has been sent out to Greta residents advising those in the area to seek shelter as a nearby bushfire approaches.

The fire is located near York Street and is currently being attended to by aircraft.

An emergency warning was also declared for the bushfire on Wine Country Drive near the township of North Rothbury.

Residents of both North Rothbury and Huntlee may now leave (only if) instructed by attending fire crews.

This Singleton Argus received this information at 4:18pm this afternoon from the Lower Hunter RFS Public Liaison Officer Terry Burns.

"At this stage North Rothbury had a fire to the west of the township prompting residents to r ecieve an emergency alert," Mr Burns told the Singleton Argus moments ago.

"The fire is not contained, crews remain on the scene and residents are advised to follow the direction of firefighters attending the scene at this stage."

NEARBY the New England Highway remains closed in both directions between Range Road and Hermitage Road as Rural Fire Service crews continue to battle a bushfire on the corner of the Golden Highway.

"Cruises are continuing to mop up the fire and we just have a couple of problem trees which will delay us for about another hour or so," Hunter Valley RFS Public Liaison Officer Steve Brown told the Singleton Argus at 3:18pm this afternoon.

Detours are in place via Range Road and the Golden Highway (see video).

DIVERTED: Motorists pictured on Kelso Street at 1:20pm this afternoon.

DIVERTED: Motorists pictured on Kelso Street at 1:20pm this afternoon.

Motorists are urged to avoid the area while traffic diversions are in place.

For more information about the fires, contact the Bush Fire Information Line - 1800 679 737

In case of emergency, contact 000.

The Hunter is expected to experience the highest possible level of fire danger this afternoon, when maximum temperatures are forecast to hit 38 degrees and wind speeds up to 40 kilometres per hour.

A statement from the NSW Rural Fire Service said "catastrophic" fire danger is forecast for the remainder of the week.

A total of 35 fire trucks and 180 firefighters (many travelling from as far as Victoria) have been stationed at the Singleton Army Base since this morning.

EARLIER THIS MORNING: A shot of the CFA Task Force 1 at the Singleton Army Base this morning. (Photo courtesy of DGO Andrew Jan, Coliban Group)

EARLIER THIS MORNING: A shot of the CFA Task Force 1 at the Singleton Army Base this morning. (Photo courtesy of DGO Andrew Jan, Coliban Group)

OTHER BUSHFIRES NEARBY:

NORTH ROTHBURY

  • An emergency warning has been declared for the bushfire on Wine Country Drive at North Rothbury and is spreading quickly.
  • Property and life is under threat. It is too late to leave. Seek shelter.

GOSPERS MOUNTAIN FIRE

  • Putty Road from Milbrodale (located 29km south of Singleton) to Colo Heights (84km north west of Sydney) is also closed in both directions due to the size of the Gospers Mountain fire located within the Putty Ranges. RFS Public Liason Officer Steve Brown has alerted the Singleton Argus that residents escaping this 130km stretch of road will not be allowed to return to their homes.
PUTTY ROAD CLOSED: Residents escaping this 130km stretch of road will not be allowed to return to their homes due to the current state of the Gospers Mountain Fire.

PUTTY ROAD CLOSED: Residents escaping this 130km stretch of road will not be allowed to return to their homes due to the current state of the Gospers Mountain Fire.

BIMBADEEN DRIVE, MUSWELLBROOK

  • Firefighters are on scene at a grassfire intersection New England Highway and Bimbadeen Drive at Muswellbrook. The fire is contained, crews are now mopping up.

EXPLANATION of fire danger ratings:

  • LOW-MODERATE: Fires can be easily controlled and may spread up to 250 metres an hour. Make sure your Bushfire Survival Plan is up to date.
  • HIGH: Fires can be controlled but still present a threat. Embers may be blown ahead of the fire and around homes, causing other fires to occur close to the main fire. Rates of spread up to 500 metres an hour are possible. Make sure your Bushfire Survival Plan is up to date.
  • VERY HIGH: Fires can be difficult to control and present a very real threat. There may be ember attack up to two kilometres from the fire front and rates of spread up to 1km an hour. Review your Bushfire Survival Plan with your family.
  • SEVERE: Fires will likely be uncontrollable, unpredictable and fast moving with flames that may be higher than roof tops. There may be ember attack up to 4km from the fire front and rates of over spread up to 1.5km an hour. Leaving early is the safest option for your survival. Well prepared homes that are actively defended can provide safety but only stay if you are physically and mentally prepared to defend in these conditions. If you're not prepared, leave early in the day.
  • EXTREME: Fires can be uncontrollable, unpredictable and fast moving with flames in the tree tops and higher than roof tops. Thousands of embers will be blown up to 6km from the fire front, causing other fires to start and spread quickly ahead of the main fire. Rates of spread can be up to 2km an hour. Leaving early is the safest option for your survival. Leave early in the day if you are not prepared to the highest level such as if your home is specially designed, constructed or modified and situated to withstand a fire and you are well prepared and can actively defend it if a fire starts.
  • CATASTROPHIC: Fires will likely be uncontrollable, unpredictable and very fast moving with highly aggressive flames extending high above tree tops and buildings. Thousands of embers will be blown violently into and around homes, causing other fires to start and spread quickly up to 10km ahead of the main fire with rates of spread up to 5km an hour. Ensure your survival is the primary consideration in any decision.The safest option is for you and your family to leave in the early morning of any day declared Catastrophic even the day before as soon as the rating is issued. Under no circumstances will it be safe to stay and defend.