Published: Tue, November 12, 2019

Tomorrow's NSW Catastrophic Fire Danger Has Extended To More Areas

Tomorrow's NSW Catastrophic Fire Danger Has Extended To More Areas

The worst fires on Tuesday emerged in the state's northeast, where three people have died and more than 150 homes have been destroyed since Friday.

Sydney, whose five million people woke up to a smoke haze on Tuesday, was among several regions rated at "catastrophic fire danger", the first time the city had been given that designation since new fire danger ratings were introduced in 2009 following the country's most deadly fire on record.

"We are certainly starting to see an increase in fire activity", New South Wales Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons, who is providing two-hourly updates on conditions throughout the day, told reporters in Sydney. The authorities stressed that even fireproofed homes will not be able to withstand catastrophic conditions.

The state government announced that more than 600 schools and technical colleges will be closed on Tuesday because of the fire risk. "With catastrophic weather conditions predicted for this week, particularly Tuesday with hot weather and strong winds, I have made a decision to take the Commissioner's advice and make this declaration".

Yesterday afternoon, the fire service authorised use of the Standard Emergency Warning Signal, an alarm and verbal warning that will be played by radio and television stations every hour.

The annual Australian fire season, which peaks during the Southern Hemisphere summer, has started early after an unusually warm and dry winter.

A satellite photo taken by NASA on November 8 shows plumes of smoke rising along the eastern coast of New South Wales state.

Some residents in the path of unsafe fires blame the intensity of flames on environmentally focused lawmakers who have prevented regular controlled burning of forests to reduce the fuel load in the tinder-dry landscape for fear of smoke and harm to wildlife.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, leader of the rural National Party in the governing coalition, drew ire for suggesting now was not the time to talk about the climate.

"Scott Morrison has not got the climate crisis under control", Bandt said.

"My only thoughts today are with those who have lost their lives and their families".

Three deaths resulting from the fires have been reported so far. We assist them when they need our help and they are available to assist us if we need their support.

Of 71 fires burning across New South Wales, 11 were rated as emergencies and burning out of control by midafternoon.

Thompson said he was frustrated that the prime minister had refused to meet with them.

"Those aircraft come down during our fire season at the end of the North Hemisphere fire season", Thompson said.

Over the past 19 years we've deployed 986 people overseas; 140 of them in the past 12 months to Australia.

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