4.10pm: Fire crews have returned to Blackbutt Reserve after fresh columns of smoke appeared overhead Tuesday afternoon, within 30 minutes of an earlier blaze being brought under control.
The Mercury understands fires have broken out in at least four locations.
Firefighters were called to a fire off Loftus Drive at Barrack Heights, about 2.50pm Tuesday.
Another fire has since broken out off Dryandra Way, about a kilometre south-east of the first.
No property is currently under threat, with a large clearway and relatively low fuel load expected to provide good protection to houses.
4.50pm: A third blaze has been located towards the middle of the reserve.
Crews have been diverted to a fourth blaze, near Shellharbour Resort and Conference Centre.
Superintendent Greg Wardle, RFS District Manager for the Illawarra, confirmed no homes were under threat.
Seven fire trucks are on site, as well as police.
“We don’t know how the fires began, but we are chasing up people riding around on motorcycles at the moment. That’s why police are on scene,” he said.
The fires have come a fortnight after hazard reduction burning at the reserve, a known arson hotspot.
The fate of a flying fox colony that was spared in the hazard burn, is unknown.
Supt Wardle said conditions at the reserve were helpful to the firefighting effort.
“They’re getting on top of them. At this point the afternoon’s cooling down and the wind has dropped of and conditions aren’t as bad as earlier today.
“The hazard reduction burn of the other week has done it’s job and that’s kept the fire away from backing onto any properties at this point.”
5pm: The fire tally has since risen to nine. Reports from the scene indicate all of them are being controlled.
Five fires are burning in the reserve’s south-eastern corner. Three are located on the north-western side and another is towards the western edge.
5.10pm: All fires are confirmed contained. Firefighters are involved in mopping up.