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Emergency services have discovered the body of a man they suspect died in a bushfire on the NSW Mid North Coast.

Authorities were called to a rural property at Stony Creek Lane at Temagog, 30km west of Kempsey, at 10.15pm on Monday after concerns that a 56-year-old man had gone missing after a bushfire passed through the area.

“On arrival, officers from Mid North Coast Police District located the body of a man; his bulldozer nearby was destroyed,” a NSW Police spokesperson said.

“While the man has not yet been formally identified, it’s believed he was a local property owner.”

Firefighters had to battle three out-of-control blazes in the Kempsey council area on Monday, with 5900ha burned across Willi Willi National Park and Boonanghi Nature Reserve.

The fire at Willi Willi Rd in Moparrabah was upgraded to an emergency warning at 8pm on Monday, with residents near Willi Willi and Warbro Brook told to shelter as it was “too late to leave”.

Firefighters downgraded the fire to a watch and act level at 11.30pm on Monday; however, a wind change pushed the fire towards Temagog overnight.

“If you are in Willi Willi, Warbro Brook, Willawarrin, Mungay Flat, Temagog or Toorooka, you should monitor conditions, as there is still active fire,” the Rural Fire Service tweeted about the fire when it was downgraded.

After erratic winds whipped the blaze into a frenzy, the fire is still out of control on Tuesday morning.

The RFS warn the fire is “moving in multiple directions due to erratic fire behaviour,” and has yet to be contained.

An evacuation centre has been opened at the Kempsey Showground, 19 Sea St in West Kempsey, for residents who have been affected by the fire.

Two schools in the Kempsey Shire will be temporarily closed on Tuesday due to the elevated bushfire risk.

Students from Willawarrin and Bellabrook public schools will be given learning-from-home resources as their schools remain closed.

“The decision to temporarily close schools is not one that is made lightly. It is always done with the safety and wellbeing of our staff and students in mind,” a Department of Education spokesperson said.

“It is important for parents and carers to know that schools do not offer minimal supervision when schools are temporarily closed due to bushfire threat.”

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By Rahul

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