The NSW Rural Fire Service report that the Bees Nest Fire is burning 50 km north of Ebor on several fronts. The fire has covered more than 56,000 hectares, and is out of control.
Fire Captain Darren Wykes, from the Tyringham station, 29 km north of Ebor, spoke to The Armidale Express late on Sunday afternoon.
He had directed firefighters, sought advice, talked on phones, and fought the Bees Nest fire since Friday.
He appeared not to have had any sleep, and his voice was husky.
"On Friday night, with a 50 kilometre, northern wind, mayhem broke loose," Captain Wykes said. "No houses were lost."
A fire, started by a lightning strike, has blazed in the Guy Fawkes River National Park, 30 km north of Ebor, since Sunday. The fire came out of the forest area and moved towards Hernani, 12 km north of Ebor. By Sunday afternoon, the two fires formed a 50 km front.
The fire threatened Captain Wykes's own small cattle farm.
"The fire was spotting [shooting sparks and embers to create more fires] over Armidale Road, and engulfed the area. It was running towards my house, but we saved it, with the local crew helping us."
Captain Wykes had to abandon his property to fight for Dundurrabin, a small village with about 30 homes and a school, 36 km north-east of Ebor.
"The plantation forest beside us was inundated, so we are technically not in a good shape," he said. "The fire is still spotting. No-one is home now, because we're all down here, serving food and helping where we can."
When we spoke to Captain Wykes, the fire was outside Tyringham and Dundurrabin, on the Armidale and Tyringham Roads.
The fire had travelled nearly 40 km in a day; at its peak, it raced at 18 km every two hours.
While the RFS had managed to bring the fire slightly under control, it had 'taken out' everything south of the Armidale Road, Captain Wykes said.
With 50 km winds blowing, the fire had descended into an inaccessible river valley. The RFS had to wait for the fire to come out, whereupon it threatened the Armidale Road properties.
The fire front was 1 km from Dundurrabin, and moving fast in three different directions.
The RFS needed a tanker on each spot - but two had just broken down.
"At this time of day, that's not ideal," Captain Wykes said. "I'm left with one tanker."
The RFS were trying to reconstruct other water tankers.
"We want to be on top of that in the hour," Captain Wykes said. "We're pumping out of creek systems."
Ultra-high frequency, fire truck radios, mobile phones, and landlines helped the firefighters communicate. But internet and digital services were falling, Captain Wykes said. New England's rough, hilly terrain and deep valleys mean that technology can fail in a crisis.
More fighters were needed to combat the blaze, Captain Wykes said.
"Our problem is that our local help has to go home, because they can't stay here the whole time. The skeleton shift - till midday through the night - isn't great at the moment; people at Dundurrabin have to get out now.
"It is not 'watch and alert'; it's 'get out'. Soon, it will be dusk. Our neighbours, village, and people have to get out NOW."
The NSW RFS also reported that a large spot fire was burning in the Muldiva State Forest, burning towards Tyringham Road, in the Bostobrick area. Firefighters worked with residents to slow the spread of the fire, helped by aircraft. Expected strong winds will make it difficult to control the fire.