People throughout the Illawarra and Shoalhaven have been warned via text message to consider leaving high-risk bushfire areas tonight, ahead of tomorrow's catastrophic fire danger.
The text message, which was sent to many residents tonight, said: "Catastrophic Fire Danger tomorrow for Illawarra, Shoalhaven and Southern Ranges. Not being in a fire prone areas is the safest option."
The state’s RFS boss has declared Tuesday one of the worst first danger days on record.
“This is one of the worst fire danger days on record for NSW,’’ Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said in a statement issued this evening.
“I cannot say it more plainly: the risk is real and potentially deadly. People need to act now.
“If you live in bushland or an isolated area where there is a catastrophic fire danger rating your only option is to leave early. You could move to a built up area, away from bushland, such as the centre of a town.’’
The Illawarra, Shoalhaven and Southern Ranges have a fire danger rating of catastrophic.
The status is the most extreme the RFS issues. It is reserved for days when any bushfire that starts will have the potential to cause significant loss of life and destroy many homes.
Widespread areas of the state have the second-highest fire danger rating of extreme. The risk is lower - severe - on the South Coast.
Commissioner Fitzsimmons advised people living in built-up areas with minimal exposure to vegetation to monitor conditions and follow their Bush Fire Survival Plan.
Residents should also find out where their Neighbourhood Safer Place is located and stay informed via area media, news websites and the RFS website, Facebook Page and Twitter feed.