THREE northern NSW councils areas have been declared natural disaster zones after fires combined to form a huge fire front.The massive front formed on October 21 when the Freds Creek and Georges Junction fires combined at the Macleay River.
It has damaged over 51,000ha of national parks, state forests and private land across Armidale Dumaresq, Walcha and Kempsey.
"These fires have been burning in the area for a number of days and due to the conditions, they merged into one large fire, jumped containment lines and threatened numerous properties," Emergency Services Minister Michael Gallacher said in a statement.
"This declaration triggers a number of disaster assistance schemes to assist with the cost of disaster relief and recovery."
Over the last two weeks, bushfires have raged across the New England and Mid North Coast regions.
Other fires under this declaration include the Clay fire in Armidale Dumaresq, the Panhandle fire in Walcha and the Mulligans fire in Guyra on the western side of Guy Fawkes National Park, which has burnt over 3,400 hectares of National Park and private land.
Mr Gallacher said the Macleay River fire had damaged significant portions of the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, which is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, a series of protected areas which were first inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1986 and extended in 1994.