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Premier declares state of emergency as two bushfires hit emergency warning level

Natalie Peters & Erin Molan

The Premier has declared a state of emergency for the next seven days as bushfire conditions worsen across the state.

A statewide Total Fire Ban is in place until midnight on Saturday, December 21 and a Poor Air Quality Forecast alert has been issued as smoke haze chokes parts of the city.

The Gospers Mountain and Green Wattle Creek fires are currently burning at an emergency level. Two blazes in the Shoalhaven area have been downgraded to ‘watch and act’.

As many as 40 properties have already been destroyed in the two major fires.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian tells Natalie Peters and Erin Molan declaring a state of emergency gives the RFS Commissioner every legal power he needs to close roads or force evacuations.

“The biggest concern we have, not just for today but in particular on Saturday, is just the unpredictability of what’s happening. That’s because we do have a number of fire fronts.

“When you’ve got wind conditions that are described as turbulent, coupled with the high temperatures and the fire fronts, it means that embers or spot fires can crop up very unexpectedly.

“Please do your research. Don’t leave home until you know what roads are open, what roads aren’t.”

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview

The Premier also voiced her support for Scott Morrison, who has come under fire for going on holiday as bushfires rage across the country.

“He works his guts out every day and we have to put things into perspective. These fires have been going on since July.

“I don’t begrudge him for taking a few days off. He does an amazing job.”

RFS Inspector Ben Shepherd tells Luke Grant tomorrow’s conditions will be better before they’re expected to worsen on Saturday.

“It has been a terrible day. Extraordinarily hot, extraordinarily windy. Thankfully a little bit of reprieve tomorrow, but we can expect similar fire behaviour come Saturday.”

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview

Image: Getty/Peter Parks

Natalie Peters & Erin Molan
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