Fires at Cessnock and West Wallsend downgraded overnight, schools closed, evacuation centres established

Two fires burning at Abermain/Weston/Kurri Kurri and West Wallsend have been downgraded to the Advice level overnight.

The first of the blazes were sparked at around 3pm at Abermain causing Emergency level warnings in the area and also around Weston, Kurri Kurri and Pelaw Main, where residents were evacuated and later told to seek shelter as it was too late to leave.

The intense conditions were being fanned by strong hot and dry winds, which turned the job for firefighters into a ‘greater than tenth alarm,’ meaning every available fire truck in the region was called to assist, along with waterbombing aircraft.

The Cessnock Road blaze has currently burned through more than 500 hectares as of Friday morning and has even devastatingly seen a local tyre business and reports of at least one home being destroyed.

Over in West Wallsend the flames were threatening homes on Boundary Road, Bridge Street and O’Donnelltown Road and has burnt through more than 60 hectares as of Friday morning.

Thankfully, both fires were downgraded to Advice overnight as a cool change swept through the region.

Meantime, a number of schools are closed on Friday as a result of the fire.

The Department of Education says Abermain Public School, Kurri Kurri Public School, Pelaw Main Public School, Stanford Merthyr Infants School and Weston Public School have been closed due to the conditions in the area

Evacuation Centres have been established at Wallsend Diggers for residents impacted by the West Wallsend fire and at Kurri Kurri Bowling Club for those impacted by the Abermain/Weston blaze.

The Red Cross has also opened it’s Register.Find.Reunite for those affected. The service helps find and reunite family, friends and loved ones during disaster.

Image: Kearsley Fire and Rescue