Dramatic moment giant fireball explodes from the bush sending firies running for their lives

·Associate News Editor

A giant erupting fireball has sent fire crews running for their lives as they tackle an out-of-control fire just 75 kilometres southwest of Sydney.

Dramatic and terrifying footage shows crews retreat as a giant wall of flames quickly rises metres above them near Orangeville, to the west of Campbelltown, on Thursday evening.

“Just an example of how quickly bushfires hit,” Fire and Rescue crews from Menai explained on Facebook.

Sydney Morning Herald photographer Nick Moir said the fire “exploded from the bush”, as he shared images of the towering blaze on Twitter.

Fire crews retreat near Orangeville as the fire burns out of control. Source: NSW RFS Menai
Fire crews retreat near Orangeville as the fire burns out of control. Source: NSW RFS Menai

The fire at Green Wattle Creek was upgraded to an emergency warning on Thursday, with the NSW Rural Fire Service warning late on Thursday that the fire was continuing to spread in an easterly direction towards several communities.

The Rural Fire Service said crews and local residents attacked the fire “head-on” in a bid to save homes as the fire came perilously close.

The fire was later downgraded to a Watch and Act in the early hours of Friday morning.

The fire was one of seven that was upgraded to emergency warning on Thursday as westerly winds fuelled fires across the state.

Residents in Mangrove Mountain fled as the Three Mile blaze quickly spread.

Crews worked effortlessly throughout the night to limit the damage in the area, with only a number of sheds lost, Nine News reported.

“It’s like ripping your heart out,” resident Joe Galea said, holding back tears.

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Nine News reporter Tiffany Genders at Mangrove Mountain said she’d “never seen flames move so fast”.

Earlier on Thursday, three firefighters were airlifted from the Green Wattle Creek fireground after they suffered minor injuries battling the blaze.

Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said while there were no lives lost or injuries reported overnight, several properties across the state had been lost.

He said the fires were "very active" and could return to emergency level during the day as wind increases and warm conditions kick in.

Severe fire danger rating for Friday

By early morning Friday conditions had eased with warnings dropping down to 'watch and act' for the Currowan fire north of Batemans Bay, the Three Mile blaze and the Gospers Mountain at Lithgow and the Little L Complex and Paddock Run fires near Singleton.

Almost the entire coastal area of NSW and much of the state's northeast have a severe fire danger rating for Friday.

Total fire bans will be in place for the far South Coast and the Monaro alpine, southern ranges, Illawarra-Shoalhaven, central ranges, Greater Sydney, Greater Hunter, northern slopes and northwestern regions.

There were 97 bushfires burning across the state on Friday morning and less than half were contained.

More than 2000 firefighters remain in the field battling the blazes.

- with AAP

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