Thousands of volunteer firefighters remain on standby in the Illawarra this afternoon as emergency service officials keep a close eye on the region's changing weather conditions.
A central command centre operating out of the Illawarra Fire Control Centre at Albion Park has been humming with activity since 6am, as dozens of representatives from state departments and agencies prepare for hotter temperatures and stronger winds this afternoon.
RFS Illawarra zone manager Superintendent Richard Cotterill said there had been some unconfirmed reports of smoke near the escarpment this morning and again around lunch, but crews had not found any fire activity on investigation.
Police did, however, charge a Wongawilli man with disobeying today's total fire ban after he was allegedly found cooking food for his dog on an outdoor pot belly stove.
The man was issued with a notice to attend Wollongong Court on February 21.
Meantime, fire crews have been ordered to standby at the Garrawarra nursing home and the Stanwell Tops Conference Centre in case fire breaks out.
Superintendent Cotterill said 250 firefighters were on standby "ready to go right now" at RFS stations throughout the region, while further reserve crews were on call.
"In addition to that we've got a number of other resources we can call on throughout NSW, and indeed, should the need arise as we've seen in fires in the past, interstate assistance in available over the longer term as well," he said.