New South Wales firefighters continue to battle fires, threat eases

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Monday, January 2, 2006 Firefighters in the Australian state of New South Wales continue to battle bushfires across the state.

Rural Fire Service Commissioner Phill Koperberg said that there are still three fires on the Central Coast, while another fire in Junee is moving north and is now spread over 35,000 hectares.

He added that it could take up to four days to contain the fires due to rain and strong winds. A southerly change blew through the state last night, easing temperatures and reducing the fire threat. No homes are believed to be under direct threat at this time.

It is feared that the weather which helped the fires take hold may return on the weekend.

Fires on the Central Coast fires continue to affect road and rail transport between Sydney and Newcastle.

The Sydney-Newcastle Freeway and the Pacific Highway have been reopened, although there is heavy traffic on the freeway at Brooklyn and Cowan. Drivers have been advised to exercise caution due to thick smoke. Trains travelling between the Central Coast and Newcastle to Sydney are heavily delayed.

Only one person has been killed by the fires, a 65 year old man who suffered a heart attack while helping residents evacuate on the Central Coast.

27 fires are reported to be burning across New South Wales.

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