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Bushfires rage across NSW and Queensland as hazardous smoke blankets Sydney Bushfires rage across NSW and Queensland as hazardous smoke blankets Sydney
(about 3 hours later)
Blaze on NSW south coast continues to burn as Queensland braces for extreme heat and severe fire danger At least one home lost on NSW south coast as Queensland braces for extreme heat and severe fire danger
About 150 bushfires were burning across New South Wales and Queensland on Tuesday morning, as the sunshine state prepared for extreme heat and severe fire danger and Sydney struggled with continuing poor air quality. At least one home and multiple buildings have been destroyed by an out-of-control bushfire near Batemans Bay on the New South Wales south coast.
There were 119 bush and grass fires in NSW on Tuesday morning, 48 of them uncontained. Sydney, meanwhile, is ringed by bushfires, causing heavy smoke to linger.
No total fire bans were in place for Tuesday, but fire danger was “very high” along the NSW coast and in the northern parts of the state. Almost 120 bush and grass fires are burning across NSW, with almost half uncontained and more than 2,000 firefighters being supported by aircraft.
A fire burning in the Blue Mountains near Katoomba was downgraded from a watch and act level to an advice alert on Monday night. On Monday firefighters rallied to save homes on the south coast as fierce winds fanned a fast-moving fire which quadrupled in size in less than two days.
Firefighters had previously warned residents the 600-hectare fire was spreading towards built-up areas. The out-of-control fire at Currowan is burning across almost 25,000 hectares and is being pushed east towards coastal communities. However, it tempered overnight as gusty north-easterly winds moderated.
The Rural Fire Service said properties near Batemans Bay on the NSW south coast had been lost due to an out-of-control bushfire. On Tuesday the Rural Fire Service’s commissioner, Shane Fitzsimmons, confirmed that properties west of Kioloa had been damaged and destroyed. Authorities would assess the extent of damage throughout the day.
Firefighters on Monday rallied to save homes on the south coast as fierce winds fanned a fast-moving fire which quadrupled in size in less than two days. The out-of-control fire at Currowan was burning across almost 25,000 hectares and being pushed east towards coastal communities but tempered overnight as gusty north-easterly winds moderated. At least one home was lost, as well as a number of structures.
The RFS commissioner, Shane Fitzsimmons, on Tuesday confirmed that properties west of Kioloa had been damaged and destroyed amid the blazes. Authorities would assess the extent of damage throughout the day. The Currowan fire remains at watch and act alert level and evacuation centres have been set up at Ulladulla and Batemans Bay.
The Currowan fire remained at “watch and act” alert level and evacuation centres set up at Ulladulla and Batemans Bay. “We do have some early indications of property being lost or impacted to the west of the area of Kioloa, largely where the fire crossed the Clyde river there yesterday,” Fitzsimmons told the Seven Network.
“We do have some early indications of property being lost or impacted to the west of the area of Kioloa, largely where the fire crossed the Clyde River there yesterday,” Fitzsimmons told the Seven Network. “Unfortunately there’s still a lot of very active fire edge on this fire, which is why it’s remaining at watch-and-act alert level, and conditions could certainly change if we see the winds influence fire behaviour on that again.” “Unfortunately there’s still a lot of very active fire edge on this fire.
NSW police on Monday expressed concerns about the number of people deliberately lighting fires amid increased risk. “Conditions could certainly change if we see the winds influence fire behaviour on that again.”
Lake Illawarra Inspector Brian Pedersen said it was distressing to see people ignoring the warnings of emergency services. Police spoke to three 12-year-old boys after two fires were deliberately lit in the Lake Illawarra region over the weekend. In Sydney, three large blazes on the city’s fringe have prompted hazardous air quality warnings in the city’s east and south-west.
“We are urging the whole community to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour,” Pedersen said in a statement. The haze blanketing the city is being blown from large bushfires in the Blue Mountains, near Warragamba dam and in the Hawkesbury area.
Two million hectares of NSW land have been burnt since July in more than 7,000 fires, with authorities dubbing it the “most challenging bushfire season ever”. Fitzsimmons said a “temperature inversion” had trapped the smoke in the Sydney basin and the haze was unlikely to lift in the short term.
“All those fires and some a little further afield are all impacting on the smoke inundation around the Sydney basin,” he said.
“There’s a general westerly pattern to a lot of these winds that’s going to continue to bring smoke right across the Sydney basin, and if we get another inversion effect like we saw this morning, some of that will get trapped.”
On Monday NSW police expressed concerns about the number of people deliberately lighting fires amid increased risk.
Lake Illawarra Insp Brian Pedersen said it was distressing to see people ignoring the warnings of emergency services. Police spoke to three 12-year-old boys after two fires were deliberately lit in the Lake Illawarra region at the weekend.
“We are urging the whole community to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour,” Pedersen said.
Two million hectares of NSW land have burned since July in more than 7,000 fires, with authorities calling it the “most challenging bushfire season ever”.
Six people have died and 673 homes have been destroyed.Six people have died and 673 homes have been destroyed.
In Sydney on Tuesday morning heavy smoke was again hanging over the city, with three large blazes on the city’s fringe. The haze blanketing the city was being blown from large bushfires in the Blue Mountains, near Warragamba Dam and in the Hawkesbury area.
Fitzsimmons said a “temperature inversion” had trapped the smoke in the Sydney basin, prompting a “poor” air quality rating. Parts of south-west Sydney had also been deemed “hazardous”.
“All those fires and some a little further afield are all impacting on the smoke inundation around the Sydney basin,” Fitzsimmons said. “There’s a general westerly pattern to a lot of these winds that’s going to continue to bring smoke right across the Sydney basin, and if we get another inversion effect like we saw this morning, some of that will get trapped.”
NSW Health said children, older adults and people with heart and lung conditions were the most susceptible to smoke and air pollution.NSW Health said children, older adults and people with heart and lung conditions were the most susceptible to smoke and air pollution.
“If you have asthma or a lung condition, reduce outdoor activities if smoke levels are high and if shortness of breath or coughing develops, take your reliever medicine or seek medical advice,” it said.“If you have asthma or a lung condition, reduce outdoor activities if smoke levels are high and if shortness of breath or coughing develops, take your reliever medicine or seek medical advice,” it said.
A strong wind warning was in place for the Hunter, Illawarra and far south coast, and smoke haze was forecast for much of the state, in particular the Sydney, Hunter, mid north coast, and northern rivers regions. A strong wind warning was in place for the Hunter, Illawarra and far south coast, and smoke haze was forecast for much of the state, in particular the Sydney, Hunter, mid north coast and northern rivers regions.
Heavy smoke haze was also affecting the Bruce Highway at Colosseum in Queensland.Heavy smoke haze was also affecting the Bruce Highway at Colosseum in Queensland.
The fire danger rating was classed as severe in parts of southern Queensland, with dry and windy conditions making conditions hazardous for firefighters.The fire danger rating was classed as severe in parts of southern Queensland, with dry and windy conditions making conditions hazardous for firefighters.
Temperatures were expected to reach 40C in areas such as the Lockyer Valley and Scenic Rim by the end of the week.Temperatures were expected to reach 40C in areas such as the Lockyer Valley and Scenic Rim by the end of the week.
The Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast could experience temperatures of 35C, while in Brisbane it could reach 37C on Friday.The Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast could experience temperatures of 35C, while in Brisbane it could reach 37C on Friday.
Australian Associated Press contributed to this reportAustralian Associated Press contributed to this report