Saturday 21 December 2019

Update on the Australian bushfires

Lithgow on fire

Stephanie Bedo
Dramatic scenes are emerging from the Lithgow area as a 'mega-blaze' gain height.
Footage taken by resident Kennedy Brown shows smoke engulfing the region as flames edge just metres from homes.

Violent winds kicked up the blaze, forcing emergency personal to door knock people warning them of the danger.
Residents are housing their homes with water and some are refusing to leave.
“I’ve never seen the fire jump as much as this; it’s spotting fires everywhere," Rob Corney told The Sunday Telegraph.
Lithgow is a town of about 12,000 people about two hours’ drive west of Sydney.
Meanwhile, 7 News Sydney has posted dramatic video footage of the fire raging up a cliff in the Grose Valley near Blackheath.

NSW holiday-makers urged to delay plans

Stephanie Bedo
Holiday-makers are being urged to postpone trips for 24 hours, with NSW bushfires forcing the closure of the Hume Highway and blocking routes between Sydney and the state’s west.
Transport for NSW says a section of the Hume Highway connecting Sydney and Canberra has been closed today in both directions between the Old Hume Highway at Colo Vale and Narellan.
Picton Road is also closed at the M1 Motorway in the Blue Mountains, and the Great Western Highway is closed in both directions between Hartley and Mount Victoria due to the emergency-level bushfire burning out of control in the Grose Valley.
The Bells Line of Road and Chifley Road are closed between Kurrajong and Lithgow as are Megalong Road, Jenolan Caves Road and Bowen Mountain Road.
Trains lines between Campbelltown and Moss Vale, to the south, and westwards between Katoomba and Bathurst have also been impacted.
The Princes Highway has been closed in both directions between Bewong and Conjola on the state’s south coast.
NSW Police assistant commissioner Karen Webb said the state’s residents should delay all non-essential travel.
“The NSW Police message to motorists is today is not the day to start your holiday,” she told reporters at NSW Rural Fire Service headquarters. "Delay your travel until tomorrow. Conditions will be much milder and you can have a better trip.”
– Steven Trask, AAP

'Dangerous' fire conditions video

Stephanie Bedo
The RFS has tweeted a video from the Gospers Mountain fire.
Thick smoke can be seen engulfing the region.

Home destroyed in Lithgow

Stephanie Bedo
NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons has given another media update, saying today had been an "awful" day. Here are the main points.
  • Property losses at Lithgow.
  • No reports of serious injury but firefighters suffering heat exhaustion.
  • Milder conditions expected after today's weather passes, with a dramatic temperature drop coming.
  • Smoke has been insulating the fires, preventing temperatures getting as high as was expected.
  • People reported showers that recorded up to just one millimetre, which "won't do anything" for the fire behaviour.
  • Firefighters won't get on top of fires until we get some decent rain.
  • Relentless pattern of hot, dry air dominating the weather features at the moment.
  • There are 3000 firefighters and emergency services personnel out there dealing with the fires.
  • Another 30 odd personal from Canada and US have arrived to help.

Firey treated for heat exhaustion

Stephanie Bedo
Four firefighters have been treated for heat exhaustion, including one "tough bastard".
The firey was battling a blaze at Green Wattle Creek at Balmoral and trying to save homes after a wind change at 2pm caused havoc.
Firefighter Warren Davis told The Sunday Telegraph the man was a tough bastard after he refused to leave.
"He’s just so bloody brave," he told the newspaper.
Dominic Morgan from the New South Wales ambulance said the four firefighters' conditions ranged from from minor to quite severe.
He said they were sending additional crews to the main fire areas.
"There are 100 additional paramedics out in the field, we are ready to standby and support firefighters as and when required," he said

Danger hour warning

Stephanie Bedo
Sydneysiders are being warned to brace for "erratic" conditions at 5pm.
A southerly change is moving up the coast and is expected to hit the city then.
Residents in the Green Wattle Creek area are being warned.
Grose Valley and Gospers Mountain fires will be a problem about 6pm.
In the Green Wattle Creek area fire is approaching Yanderra and it is too late to leave.
Seek shelter as the fire approaches.
Seek shelter in a solid structure to protect yourself from the heat of the fire.

Photos show fire damage

Stephanie Bedo
Homes have been razed and left burnt out in raging bushfires across the country.
People have returned to their homes to find them charred and their belongings burnt to a crisp.
Stuart Temby rushed to his home in Harrogate Rd, Brukunga, and thought he'd have to jump into the pool if the fire got worse.
"I wasn't going to fight it, it was too quick … I was expecting Armageddon," he told the Adelaide Advertiser.
Stuart Temby at his damaged property.

Watch out for ember attacks

Stephanie Bedo
Firefighters have warned major blazes could spot up to 18km ahead of the fire front.
These maps show potential ember attack that may come from fires today and overnight, based on the current fire conditions and latest wind forecasts.
The maps also illustrate potential for fires to break containment lines or spot over in areas.
The RFS says if you're in these areas you need to be ready now.

Emergency warnings for Victorian fires

Rohan Smith
The Victorian Country Fire Authority has issued a number of emergency warnings for fires throughout the state, including at Stirling, Tambo Crossing and Wattle Circle in the Victorian Alpine Region.
The fire at Tambo is now out of control.

The CFA Twitter account urged anyone in the region to take shelter indoors immediately.
"It is too late to leave," the warning read.
Earlier, watch and act warnings were issued for Chute, Lexton and Mount Lonarch as well as Bruthen, Deptford, Double Bridges, Fairy Dell, Ramrod Creek, Waterholes, Ward Crossing and Wiseleigh.

See updates HERE

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