NSW bushfires: The worst is yet to come as ‘catastrophic’ conditions forecast
A statewide, Total Fire Ban is in force as 61 bushfires continue to burn across New South Wales.
Three people have died and 150 homes have been destroyed as fires have torn through more than 970,000 hectares of land already this fire season.
There are currently 27 uncontained blazes across the state with 1050 firefighters on the frontline and 60 aircraft on deployment.
Sydney is preparing for an unprecedented day of fire danger, as conditions are forecast to deteriorate across the state on Tuesday.
It’s been 10 years since new Fire Danger ratings were introduced in the wake of Victoria’s deadly Black Saturday fires.
Tomorrow will be the first time the Catastrophic rating will be in effect for the Greater Sydney area.
The NSW Rural Fire Service’s spokesperson, James Morris tells Ross Greenwood the forecast tomorrow is as bad as it gets.
“Homes that are even built to withstand the most horrendous bushfires are not built to withstand condition on those days,” says Mr Morris.
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Weatherzone’s Kim Westcott tells Ross Greenwood Sydney can expect a big wind-shift on Tuesday afternoon or early evening.
“This will be a southerly wind-shift… that comes along the NSW coast.
“Which does create a big problem for the firies because the fire-front changes direction.
“It will clear some of that haze out but certainly it won’t bring any rain with it… the long term outlook for rain is pretty bleak this week.”
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- Julie Fletcher, 63, was found in a burnt-out home at Johns River, 40 kilometres north of Taree
- George Nole, was discovered in a burnt car near Glen Innes
- Vivian Chaplain, 69, from Wytaliba near Glen Innes was treated for burns before being rushed to a Sydney hospital where she later died
Emergency Services Minister David Elliott tells Alan Jones people must start preparing now.
“Tomorrow we are expecting it to be the worst day and when you consider we’re still three weeks away from Summer, this is a cause for concern.
“This is potentially going to be the worst situation we’ve had for quite some time.”
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The Rural Fire Service is warning residents to get out now because firefighters may not be able to help them.
All RFS resources are tied up trying to direct the bushfires away from town but Inspector Ben Shephers tells Alan Jones they’re not having much luck.
“They’re moving so quickly… because the landscape is so incredibly dry, they’re just really doing their own thing.
“There is no rain, there is no forecast of rain, there is no prospect of any meaningful rain so we could be in this fight now for a number of weeks.”
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Glen Innes in the state’s north has been at the centre of the bushfire emergency.
Two of the three fatalities came when flames tore through the small town and its surrounds.
Deputy Mayor Dianne Newman tells Alan Jones the situation doesn’t look like it will improve any time soon.
“We’ve been surrounded by fire and it’s been happening for a while.
“The services have been doing everything however it’s just not enough. We need more action, we’ve got to stop this!”
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CLICK HERE for the latest bushfire information from the RFS
Image: Getty/Peter Parks