Anxious wait as NSW bushfire rages

Firefighters and residents northwest of Sydney have been trying to prepare for conditions to worsen.
Firefighters and residents northwest of Sydney have been trying to prepare for conditions to worsen.

People living near a huge out-of-control blaze on Sydney's northwestern outskirts face an anxious wait to see if a sprawling fire can be contained amid a forecast of blisteringly hot, dry conditions.

The Gospers Mountain fire at Wollemi National Park which has been burning for weeks, has already consumed an area of more than 119,000 hectares, destroyed at least six homes, and is still spreading.

Residents in surrounding areas have been clearing up outside their homes while firefighters backburn in a bid to save properties threatened by the blaze.

Hawkesbury Mayor Barry Calvert said people have done all they can, and now face an anxious "sit and wait" situation.

"People are waiting for this week to be over I think," he told AAP.

"We have two or three days this week that are going to be 38C-40C and strong winds.

"I think they've done everything they can do and it's just now a matter of holding (the fire) back if they can. People are just walking around hoping for the best. There's not a lot more that can be done."

The Rural Fire Service has said the fire, which was at "watch and act" alert on Sunday afternoon, is unlikely to be under control before weather conditions deteriorate early next week.

People have been advised to have their fire plan ready and to be prepared to evacuate, the mayor said.

There is "a lot of anxiety" because of how long the fire has been burning and fears it could spread into more built-up areas, he added.

There are around a dozen homes on the fringes of the park but there are concerns the blaze could travel as far as St Albans which has a population of around 200 people.

"(Firefighters) couldn't control it because it's in deep bush and now they're just trying to manage it as best they can so there's a lot of anxiety because if it gets out again then it's very hard to stop it," said Mr Calvert.

While the coming days will be tough, local people are "very proud" of the work done by Rural Fire Service volunteers, some of whom are working 20-hour days to try and protect the area, he added.

Australian Associated Press