A total fire ban has been issued for the region for today, as the Rural Fire Service (RFS) braces for a long fire season with restricted access to water.
The first total ban of the season was issued for the the New England and North West areas - including the Gunnedah, Quirindi and Narrabri council areas, plus the Northern Slopes.
It and comes just five days into the bushfire danger period and is likely to continue tomorrow, an RFS spokesman said.
Gunnedah is forecast to hit 32 degrees, Quirindi 31 and Narrabri 33 today, but the main danger is the wind, Liverpool Range RFS district manager Myles O'Reilly said.
It is expected to reach up to 30km/h today and up to 55km/h tomorrow across the region.
"The wind is certainly the key issue ... because it's variable, it can change even in the course of a day from very high into more extreme conditions," Superintendent O'Reilly said.
Another challenge is how to fight fires with limited access to water, since few properties have much in their dams, and creeks and rivers are low or dry.
However, "dry firefighting techniques are always something in the tool box" and RFS leaders have been "talking about them more in a focused way for the last two years in preparation for this".
"Our response to any kind of outbreak would be to try to hit it as hard as we can, as quickly as we can; try to knock it down in the early stages," Superintendent O'Reilly said.
"If we can't do that, our fire officers would be already trying to identify fallback lines where hard containment using heavy plant can be put in.
"If that was the case, we would consider letting the fire burn to the hard containment line or back-burning from it to take the fuel load down."
Advice: Bees Nest fire (Armidale LGA).— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) September 4, 2019
Firefighters from #NSWRFS & #NPWS are working on containment lines. The fire is burning in remote terrain & putting up significant smoke. There is no threat to homes. Crews completing work before elevated fire danger over coming days. pic.twitter.com/VXJkoIjuyL
Several fires were burning across the three fire areas this morning, the largest in the Armidale area.
The biggest of those, at Bees Nest, was listed as being controlled after having burned more than 2424ha.
One at Georges Trail had burned 350ha and was listed as being under control.
A grass fire had also closed the Newell Highway near Bellata yesterday afternoon.