Chopper pilot dies fighting NSW bushfire

The fire is burning in Woodstock area west of Burrill Lake. Source Twitter  NSW Rural Fire ServiceMore

The fire is burning in Woodstock area west of Burrill Lake. Source Twitter NSW Rural Fire ServiceMore

The fire is moving in an easterly direction, with strong winds fanning the blaze.

The Richmond Valley fire burning at Mothersoles Rd is threatening "some isolated rural properties", he said.

Almost 80 fires continue to burn along the Great Dividing Range from the Queensland border to Victoria, with 32 still uncontained.

The boys allegedly tried smothering the fire after they were confronted and challenged by local residents, but instead caused the flames to spread.

A resident hoses down a shed destroyed by the fire at Bomaderry.

The fire has produced large amounts of smoke, as the Rural Fire Service (RFS) continues to fight the flames.

THREE teenage boys have been arrested and charged after allegedly trying to start a bushfire in the NSW Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, just hours after a total fire ban was enforced across the state.

But they won't all be under control before Saturday when winds are expected gust up to 40km/h.

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Five major fires on the south coast and to the north were still out of control on Friday evening.

"We're seeing something which is unusual in the extreme", he said.

Concerns remain for the state's north, however, with a very high fire danger predicted on Thursday for the New England, Northern Slopes and Far North Coast regions - including near Grafton and Lismore. "It's worrying, it's mind-bending".

"Tully had a wealth of aerial firefighting experience and his aviation knowledge and skills were of the highest standard, he was regarded as one of the most experienced fire bombing pilots in the industry", chief pilot Mark Harrold said in a statement.

Proactive fire prevention had suffered a lack of government funding, the La Trobe University researcher said.

RFS Inspector Ben Shepherd said the fire is now under watch and act, and property owners near the area need to follow the advice of firefighters and enact their bushfire survival plan.

Mr Fitzsimmons said the drought was having an enormous impact.

Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said the activity was extremely concerning. "It's three months since the end of the last fire season and now we're back into it again".

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