Fire Risk Closures Include University, Blackbutt, Reserves

Strong winds and a temperature high of 37 degrees forecast for the lower Hunter today.

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“Catastrophic” is the highest level of bush fire danger, and the NSWRFS warns that if a fire takes hold under such conditions, lives and homes will be at risk. In response, many closures have been announced.

University of Newcastle

The University will close all campuses on Tuesday 12 November, with the exception of its Newcastle city campus locations and Sydney campus.

Campus closures will affect all non-essential services and facilities run by the University and other providers (including childcare, retail and fitness centres).

People should avoid visiting those UoN campuses on Tuesday.


“Our decision to close campuses proactively on Tuesday 12 November based on forecast catastrophic weather conditions was carefully considered and without precedent,” said Nat McGregor, Chief Operating Officer.

We are taking this proactive step as part of our standard operating procedures and a well-developed bushfire management plan.

We are well aware that this is a critical time of year for our students, some of whom have exams, but ultimately their safety, and that of our staff and others, is what matters most. Alternate arrangements have been made and we are providing support and special consideration for disrupted students.

We will return to normal campus operations as soon as it is safe to do so.”


City of Newcastle

An emergency plan of management has been coordinated to ensure that staff welfare and wildlife are prioritised during tomorrow’s closure, which is in line with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service’s decision to close the State’s national parks north of the Hawkesbury River – including Glenrock State Conservation Area.

Staff will be on site to monitor the welfare of animals to ensure they are safe, hydrated and out of harm’s way. The plan includes provisions for the safe relocation of animals to veterinary clinics where possible should their health deteriorate or if an emergency at Blackbutt Reserve arises.

City of Newcastle will reassess the situation first thing Wednesday morning in line with the NSW Rural Fire Service’s advice. The use of public assets adjacent to national parks, such as the Fernleigh Track, is not recommended during a catastrophic fire warning which is the highest level of bush fire danger rating available. Affected residents are advised to check warnings and put a plan of action in place.

Lake Macquarie City

Several reserves and pathways in Lake Macquarie are closed due to the NSW Rural Fire Service catastrophic fire warning, including:

  • Mount Sugarloaf and the Sugarloaf State Conservation Area
  • Fernleigh Track
  • Green Point Foreshore Reserve, Valentine

The closures will remain in place until 5pm, Wednesday 13 November 2019.

All Landcare sites are also closed and no Landcare works are to be undertaken during this time.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service has closed all national parks and reserves in Lake Macquarie as well.

To stay up to date with the latest information, please visit the RFS website.

The closures will be reassessed on Wednesday morning and further advice provided.

Singleton Shire

Some Council services, including childcare and the Waste Management Facility, will be closed.

In addition, kerbside waste and bulky waste collections will not occur tomorrow until further notice.

Parents of children at Colleen Gale Childrens Services and Singleton OOSH (Outside of School Hours) have been advised the services will not operate tomorrow. Singleton Youth Venue will also be closed.

Council’s Customer Service Centre, Visitor Information and Enterprise Centre and Singleton Library will be open.

General Manager Jason Linnane said that as well as supporting combat agencies in the preparation and response to an emergency event, Council was heeding advice from NSW Rural Fire Service to take precautions in readiness for whatever may eventuate.

That includes reviewing Council’s own operations and assessing the potential risk to our staff and customers,” he said.

With unprecedented catastrophic conditions declared for the greater Hunter region and much of the State, we are taking very serious precautions around Council’s operations to ensure everyone’s safety in the event of an emergency.

Council has identified areas that can continue to operate on a skeleton staff to ensure essential services are delivered to high standards, and crews are on standby in the event of an emergency.”

Mr Linnane said services including heavy roadworks, mowing, duty planners and Council inspections had been cancelled tomorrow.

Reflections Parks

Reflections Holiday Park Closures due to Catastrophic Fire Conditions

Reflections has taken the decision to close four of its Holiday Parks at the following locations:

  • Hungry Head, Hungry Head Road, Urunga NSW

  • Lake Glenbawn, Glenbawn Road, Glenbawn NSW

  • Seal Rocks, Kinka Road Seal Rocks NSW

  • Killalea Reserve, Killalea Drive, Shell Cove NSW

Current guests and residents of the above parks are being asked to leave and no new guests are being accepted. All staff will be leaving also.

Reflections will not be accepting any new arrivals or checkins at the following locations:

  • Hawks Nest, Booner Street, Hawks Nest NSW

  • Jimmys Beach, Coorilla Street, Hawks Nest NSW

Existing guests within these parks are being advised to prepare to evacuate should the need arise.  Any guests wishing to leave now should do so.