NIGHT OF HELL: Fire crews battle the Purgatory Creek bushfire northwest of Grafton. Wind gusts of up to 40km/h exacerbated the fire ground late Tuesday afternoon, forcing evacuation of residents.
NIGHT OF HELL: Fire crews battle the Purgatory Creek bushfire northwest of Grafton. Wind gusts of up to 40km/h exacerbated the fire ground late Tuesday afternoon, forcing evacuation of residents. Frank Redward

FLARE UP: Third time unlucky as fires ravage region

BUSHFIRES have flared up across northern NSW for the third time this season with disastrous consequences in an ominous start to the summer.

Up to 30 homes were destroyed by the Busbys Flat fire in the Rappville area, almost tripling the NSW tally this bushfire season to 44, according to Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian offered thanks to all emergency services and urged those impacted to seek help from support agencies.

READ MORE: STRANDED: Woman trapped as fire surrounds property

"It's only early October and unfortunately I'm here at (RFS) headquarters for the second time this season," she said.

"I think it's a symbol of what we're likely to face in the next few months and beyond."

"My mind goes to those volunteers and emergency service workers who most recently were involved in containing and supporting communities just about a month ago, and now we see them again having to hit the ground running to contain these fires.

"We appreciate not only that people's lives and property are at risk, but their own lives and property at risk as well.

"We look forward to hopefully seeing some calming of weather conditions in the next few days which will support our emergency services crews in terms of containing these fires."

READ MORE: Heaviest rain in seven months forecast

The RFS reported 41 active fires across NSW with 13 uncontained.

READ MORE: Fire crews work to bring Purgatory Ck blaze under control

Five were in the Clarence Valley local government area, with the Purgatory Creek blaze the priority.

Favourable conditions helped crews work to contain the out of control bushfire about 16km northwest of Grafton.

However, yesterday afternoon the Gwydir Highway closed for the second day in a row after increasing winds resulted in further fire activity across the fireground.

It is unknown whether any homes or structures have been destroyed in the blaze.