Illawarra residents are being urged to prepare for possible ember attacks as weather conditions worsen over coming days.
On Sunday, the Halls Road fire, responsible for destroying property at Balmoral and Yanderra, was more than 12,000 hectares in size and about 270 firefighters were working to bring it under control.
Picton Road is not expected to be open for several days as hot, dry north-westerly winds continue to hamper firefighting efforts.
Illawarra Zone captain Michael Gray said residents needed to act now to remove piles of debris and leaf litter from their yards in the event of an ember attack.
‘‘Embers will push towards Wollongong right through to ... the Yallah area,’’ he said.
Asthmatics have been warned to stay inside where possible due to a heavy blanket of smoke predicted to affect the region.
A total fire ban is expected to remain in place until later this week.
Insp Gray said the RFS’s mission was to stop the fire travelling down the escarpment.
‘‘We have over 60 Illawarra Rural Fire Service volunteers... mainly working in the Picton Road area,’’ he said.
‘‘There are many other firefighters working in the Hill Top, Balmoral and Wilton areas.’’
Insp Gray said recent backburning efforts had been successful.
‘‘We’re just hoping weather conditions don’t allow fires to breach containment lines,’’ he said.
‘‘We’re totally in the hands of the weather at the moment.’’
The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted a maximum of 30degrees today and a minimum of 17degrees overnight for Wollongong.
Conditions should remain fine until tomorrow when a shower or two is predicted.