RFS says Taylors Beach fire 'under control', Port Stephens Koalas to walk through burned bush

Update, Monday 2.30pm:

Fire investigators will now move to determine the cause of a fire that has burned about 250 hectares of bushland in Taylors Beach and surrounds as conditions ease on the fire ground.

NSW RFS Inspector Glenn Byrnes said rain across the Tomaree Peninsula on Monday had finally reached the fire ground which had helped the 17 crews, including two from National Parks and Wildlife Service, to control the fire which has been burning since Friday afternoon.

At 2pm there were seven RFS and NPWS fire trucks on scene of the fire.

"We've got fire investigators looking into the cause of the fire for us," Inspector Byrnes said.

"It [fire] started Friday afternoon off Shearwater Drive at Taylors Beach on one of the dormant fire trails.

"At this stage the fire has become reasonably benign given the increase in moisture content.

"We'll monitor it over the next couple of days. We'll have crews out over the next couple of days to monitor and patrol the fire.

"At this stage our crews are pretty confident there won't be any impact on neighbouring residents. The only issue may be smoke from any pockets that are burning."

The fire has held steady at 'advice' level throughout Monday after going up to 'watch and act' Sunday afternoon and evening as it approached Horizons Golf Resort and residential estate.

A snapshot of the fire-affected area in Taylors Beach taken 2.30pm on Monday from the NSW RFS Fires Near Me website. The fire has burned about 250 hectares of bush within Nelson Bay Road, Port Stephens Drive and Salamander Way.

A snapshot of the fire-affected area in Taylors Beach taken 2.30pm on Monday from the NSW RFS Fires Near Me website. The fire has burned about 250 hectares of bush within Nelson Bay Road, Port Stephens Drive and Salamander Way.

Inspector Byrnes said fire crews "babysat" the course and properties throughout the night and commenced back burning operations.

Further back burning was undertaken behind properties along Nelson Bay Road on Monday.

Police closed Nelson Bay Road between Port Stephens Drive and Gan Gan Road about 11am on Monday due to smoke in the area and RFS traffic.

This stretch of road has since been reopened.

Inspector Byrnes said the RFS was conscious about the "environment assets" known to frequent the area in which the fire had been burning - inside the Nelson Bay Road, Salamander Way and Port Stephens Road triangle - koalas.

"We've been talking to Port Stephens Koalas. They're going to do a walk through where the fire has been," he said.

"We do know where pockets of koalas are currently and we haven't had any fire impact those identified colony areas. Port Stephens Koalas are going to do a walk through just to make sure."

Earlier, Monday 8am:

A bushfire burning in Taylors Beach has been downgraded from 'watch and act' to 'advice' level overnight.

On Monday morning the blaze which broke out late on Friday afternoon had burned through 218 hectares of bushland behind the industrial estate in Shearwater Drive.

"Overnight, crews have worked hard undertaking back burning operations in an effort to control this fire, which is burning in swampland in the area of Taylors Beach, to the east of Port Stephens Drive and south of Salamander Way," NSW Rural Fire Service said in a Monday morning update.

"An increase of fire activity and smoke will be noticed while this back burning continues, especially in the area near Horizons Drive. With easing conditions, there is now no immediate threat to properties.

"Residents in the area of Horizons Drive, Sanderling Close, Sandpiper Avenue, Kestrel Avenue and Salamander Way should continue to follow their bush fire survival plan, monitor conditions and take advice from firefighters in the area.

"This fire is producing a large amount of smoke that may impact local roads this morning, including Port Stephens Drive and Nelson Bay Road so motorists should be aware of crews working in the area and drive to conditions."

The fire is "being controlled" the RFS said.

Anna Bay Rural Fire Brigade reported an "inaccessible fire between Port Stephens Drive and Nelson Bay Road" about 9pm on Friday.

The brigade said that the fire was located in an "area that has not had fire for over 30 years".

The fire continued to burn at the back of the Shearwater industrial estate throughout the weekend.

Reminiscent of the smokey conditions residents endured during the disastrous summer of NSW bushfires, Tomaree Peninsula residents awoke on Anzac Day to a hazy dawn due to the Taylors Beach blaze.

Throughout Saturday the fire spread to "tea tree swamp" which sent a greater plume of smoke across the Bay.

About 1pm on Sunday Anna Bay RFS updated the public of the service's progress on battling the blaze through its Facebook page, saying crews were working hard to contain the fire but were battling poor access to the site of the blaze. They said no properties were under threat at that time.

Crews remained on scene overnight on Saturday.

The fire was upgraded to 'watch and act' level on Sunday afternoon after flames made a north-east "run" towards properties. Further RFS equipment and vehicles, including a water-bombing helicopter, were brought in to assist with containing the fire.

The RFS put Nelson Bay Road and Salamander Bay residents on alert to look out for embers and if they had sprinklers to turn them on.

Crews were tasked to undertake "property protection" along Nelson Bay Road from Latitude One to Frost Road at Anna Bay.

"Fire activity has decreased with the hard work of our ground crews and with the aid of the helicopter water bombing, crews will remain out over night and tomorrow," Anna Bay RFS stated about 5.30pm on Sunday.

While Soldiers Point Rural Fire Brigade, which also had crews out battling the fire over the weekend, said on Sunday afternoon: "Fire activity has decreased on the Shearwater fire. Whilst still plenty of smoke the easing weather has been a tremendous help. Tomorrow will see crews back out with some more back burning operations. Overnight the crews will be on scene to continue to monitor and strengthen containment lines."