FIREFIGHTERS were left scrambling after more than 11,000 lightning strikes ignited fires across Bathurst, Lithgow and Oberon on the weekend.
A lightning storm passed through the region on Friday night and while it brought little rain, it ignited spot fires in bushland areas.
From 8pm Friday to 8am on Saturday, 11,000 lightning strikes were recorded within 50 kilometres of Bathurst, with 615 of them hitting the ground.
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In Lithgow during the same time period and radius, 2753 strikes were recorded with 96 hitting the ground.
What resulted were fires across the region, with the biggest a 521 hectare blaze burning through inaccessible bushland in Wollemi National Park that is yet to be brought under control.
"It was ignited by a lightning strike and we were notified about it at 1.30pm on Saturday," NSW Rural Fire Service Chifley/Lithgow Zone operation officer Brett Taylor said.
VIDEO: Firefighters responding to a blaze on Sunday
"It's putting up a fair bit of smoke, it's a running fire.
"It's got the potential to get bigger because it's quite remote."
A small bushfire off Winburndale Dam Road at Napoleon Reef was also ignited by lightning, with crews responded to the scene on Sunday.
It's got the potential to get bigger because it's quite remote.NSW Rural Fire Service Chifley/Lithgow Team operational officer Brett Taylor
Ground crews, heavy machinery and aerial support were tasked to this blaze, with the fire now listed as under control.
"Firefighters will remain on scene blacking out extinguishing hot spots today [Monday]," Mr Taylor said.
Lightning also ignited a tree off Limekilns Road at Wattle Flat, an area in the Sunny Corner State Forest, forested area off Beaconsfield Road at O'Connell, and state forest off Shooters Hill at Oberon.
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Fire and Rescue NSW Oberon crews said they were alerted to the Shooters Hill fire by a member of the public.
"A member of the public happened to be foraging in the area when he saw smoke and called triple-0," firefighters said.
"The fire was inaccessible via our vehicle so firefighters proceeded on foot with hand tools.
Once again a busy day for firefighters across #NSW. There has been great work done from the air and the ground. Right now 80 fires continue to burn with more than half yet to be contained. There is weeks of work ahead without the prospect of any meaningful rain. #NSWRFSpic.twitter.com/KB1AFV3tAh— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) October 27, 2019
"The fire was contained but not extinguished until Oberon NSW RFS arrived and were able to gain access via four-wheel-drive tanker."
Mr Taylor said fires could still erupt during the next day or two from the lightning strikes.
"If it [the lightning] hits a tree it can smoulder away and when winds pick up it can spread," he said.
The public is urged to call triple-0 immediately if they see an unattended fire or column of smoke.
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