UPDATED

Leggetts Drive closed near Kurri Kurri after Pelaw Main fatal crash, fire

WEDNESDAY, 7.30am

Conditions have eased on the fireground as the blaze continues to burn south of John Renshaw Drive and east of Leggetts Drive.

The fire has dropped to advice level overnight as firefighters remain on scene battling the blaze, which is also burning southeast towards Richmond Vale.

"Firefighters are working in the area to protect homes," the NSW Rural Fire Service said.

Residents in Avery Lane at Stanford Merthyr are urged to monitor conditions and know what they will do if the fire threatens.

Cover all exposed skin with protective clothing and footwear.

If the fire impacts, seek shelter in a solid structure

UPDATE: 8PM

Fire crews are gaining the upper hand on a fire that came within metres of homes in Buchanan.

The blaze, which was downgraded from emergency to watch and act level at 7.30pm burnt through 200 hectares between Pelaw Main and Buchanan

At the height of the emergency at 5.30pm residents on Richmond Vale Road were evacuated while those living near Averys Lane were advised it was too late to leave and to seek shelter.

"There has been a slight easing of conditions but there is still some risk for people in the Buchanan and Stanford Merthyer area," Rural Fire Service spokesman Anthony Bradstreet said.

UPDATE: 6.15PM

Residents in Averys Lane, Buchanan have been advised that it is too late to leave their homes and to seek shelter.

The blaze, which has been upgraded to emergency level, has burnt through 200 hectares and is moving rapidly towards Richmond Vale Road

"We are advising residents of Averys Lane that it's too late to leave. They should seek shelter," Rural Fire Service spokesman Anthony Bradstreet said.

Extra firefighting resources were being brought in from Sydney last night to support dozens of firefighters and rescue personnel who were fighting the fire.

UPDATE: 5.30PM

Several farming properties on Richmond Vale Road have been evacuated as the fire gains intensity.

Dozens of firefighters, an air crane and water-bombing helicopters are being used to fight the blaze.

UPDATE: 5PM

The Pelaw Main fire has been upgraded to Emergency level as more than 80 firefighters battle to contain it.

RFS Lower Hunter public liaison officer Leanne Bell said residents west of Averys Lane should shelter in place as the fire approaches.

She urged all residents to continue monitoring the situation on the Fires Near Me app.

"We want people to keep an eye on things," she said.

Two fixed wing aircraft and an aircrane were called in to help battle the blaze, with 39 RFS firefighters and 44 Fire and Rescue personnel fighting the flames from the ground.

UPDATE: 3PM

The fire at Leggetts Drive, Pelaw Main has been upgraded to Watch and Act.

NSW RFS spokesperson Ben Shepherd said the fire had broken containment lines, but was not currently posing a threat to properties.

Almost 50 firefighters are on scene of the blaze, which has burned through more than 35 hectares of bushland.

The fire is moving in a south-east direction towards Richmond Vale Road.

Pelaw Main Public School was evacuated as a precaution. Students were taken by bus to Kurri Kurri Public School to be collected at the end of the school day.

INITIAL REPORT

A motorist has died in a crash which has sparked several fires around Leggetts Drive at Pelaw Main.

Emergency services were called to the road near Kurri Kurri about 10.15am on Tuesday following reports a vehicle had left the road and collided with a pole.

A driver was located deceased at the scene and has yet to be formally identified. Police were establishing a crime scene.

A NSW Police spokesperson said the crash had caused the vehicle to catch alight, sparking several spot fires around the area.

The NSW Rural Fire Service classified the blaze as out of control but at 11.30am had not elevated it to heightened warning levels and said that no homes were under threat.

Leggetts Drive is currently closed in both directions between Neath Street and Lake Road. NSW Police have advised all vehicles to use the M1 Motorway or the Hunter Expressway.

All drivers are urged to allow extra time as crews continue to fight the blaze and clear the crash scene.

Other fires in the Hunter, including the Little L Complex blaze in Yengo National Park near Singleton and the Meads Creek West fire in the Upper Hunter shire, remain at advice level.

Tuesday's fire danger in the region is Very High, and follows three consecutive days of total fire bans in the Hunter.

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This story Conditions ease on Pelaw Main fire after emergency danger flares first appeared on Newcastle Herald.