As communities in the state's Central West are being told to take shelter from a growing bushfire emergency, Illawarra's firefighters warn local conditions are also volatile.
Bushfire danger period runs from October 1 until March 31, and so far the Illawarra has been pretty quiet, but that could change very quickly.
In the Central West it's a very different story, with out-of-control fires burning near Dubbo, Bathurst, Mudgee, Cowra, Wellington and Eugowra.
The 5253 hectare bushfire in Tambaroora (north of Bathurst) is at emergency level and threatening communities and livelihoods. At 1pm on Wednesday, residents in the area were being told to seek shelter as the fire approached.
In the Illawarra, there's plenty of fuel (twigs, branches and leaves) on the ground, with NSW Rural Fire Service district manager Martin Surrey concerned about northern suburbs in the area.
"There's a lot of growth and there's a hell of a lot of fuel and grass because of all the rain. It's areas around the Escarpment, Otford, Helensburgh, Darkes Forest and Stanswell Park," he said.
"All we need is a warm and windy day and a fire will run."
Long term median rainfall in Bellambi during bushfire danger period is 615.8 millimetres, but so far this period 687.8mm has been recorded.
Compounding the problem of higher rainfall totals, is the lack of major hazard reduction burns which help protect people and assets during fire outbreaks.
"Since 2020 we've had no opportunities of doing hazard reduction burning, only mechanical mitigation with local land owners and councils," Mr Surrey said.
"We've done nothing of any consequence which is what we need."
In coming months Mr Surrey said Illawarra residents can expect to see many hazard reductions. "We could be burning right through this year and taking advantage of every opportunity we can and it might be at night or on the weekend," he said.
People are urged not to be complacent and call triple-0 if they see any fires that are not in attendance by a fire truck.