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Western Sydney bushfire downgraded

AAP logoAAP 13/11/2016

Firefighters are beginning to gain an upper hand over a ferocious, fast-moving bushfire which has threatened lives and homes in western Sydney.

Crews remain on guard against ember attacks and spot fires as they work to bring the fire at Londonderry, north of Penrith, under control in hot and windy conditions.

Residents around Northern Road in Londonderry were urged to take shelter on Sunday afternoon as the fire tore through the Castlereagh Nature Reserve.

The blaze has ripped through almost 300 hectares of land, with more than 250 firefighters on the scene trying to extinguish it.

Firies have deployed several aircraft as they tackle the blaze, including the whopping water bomber "Thor".

The flames are being fanned by an average wind speed of 30km/h but gusts of up to 50km/h have been detected in the area.

Strong winds were expected to continue throughout the afternoon, Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Sarah Chadwick said.

The wind is also blowing thick smoke over surrounding suburbs and can be seen from the Blue Mountains.

The fire, which started about 11.30am on Sunday, is the second large blaze to hit the area this month.

On November 4, a fire allegedly started by a 16-year-old boy in the neighbouring suburb of Llandilo destroyed one home, damaged several properties and burnt 300ha.

A very high fire danger rating is in place for the Greater Sydney region.

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