Update: Catastrophic Australian Bushfires
Update: Catastrophic Australian Bushfires
New South Wales Fires
Sydney has woken up to horrendous smoke blanketing the city as almost 50 blazes continue to burn across the state, two of which have now been upgraded to “emergency warnings” as conditions deteriorate.
Air quality was hazardous on Tuesday afternoon in Sydney’s east and northwest, as well as on the Central Coast, the Northern Tablelands and northwest slopes.
People with asthma or other breathing issues were advised to stay indoors, avoid outdoor exercise and seek medical advice as needed.
The NSW RFS says five regions will have “severe” fire danger ratings by today: Greater Sydney, Greater Hunter, Illawarra/Shoalhaven, Central Ranges and Southern Ranges.
A map has shown the massive amount of fires burning across NSW, with firefighters warning some of the blazes could join up in the coming days.
“This is the MASSIVE task facing firefighters and the community across northern NSW,” NSW RFS said.
“Some of these fires are expected to join in coming days. All up, there’s more than 6000km of fire edge to deal with – the equivalent of flying from Sydney to Perth… and back again.”
This is the MASSIVE task facing firefighters and the community across northern NSW. Some of these fires are expected to join in coming days. All up, there's more than 6000km of fire edge to deal with – the equivalent of flying from Sydney to Perth… and back again. #nswrfs pic.twitter.com/I6XhpwtTAZ
— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) November 19, 2019
Dozens of firefighters from Victoria heading to NSW to help with the bushfire battle were thanked by U2 at Melbourne Airport.
Chief Officer Steve Warrington said the band’s plane was parked next to the military aircraft which was preparing to take CFA crews to Richmond Airport in NSW.
“They heard our crews were here and they sought us out to thank us for our contribution and assistance during the NSW bushfires,” he said.
It was a Beautiful Day for our fireys heading to NSW as @U2 came to personally thank them for their efforts in keeping the country safe. While they were on the Edge of flying interstate, the band wanting to pass on their well wishes to our crews was simply the Sweetest Thing 🎤 pic.twitter.com/TqL0iaTC6L
— CFA Updates (@CFA_Updates) November 19, 2019
Frontman Bono told the 130 firefighters: “We know we’re not next to people like you, who really do the real stuff, and we really appreciate it.
“So that’s what we want to say, it wasn’t just being, you know, nice.
“We really wanted to say it, we really meant it, thanks for keeping people safe, thanks a lot.”
Firefighters are bracing for heatwave conditions across Queensland’s fire zones, sending temperatures and the danger level soaring.
As #heatwave conditions move across parts of mainland Australia, #Queensland will see maximum temperatures increase 6-12C above average on Wednesday and 4-10C above average on Thursday. See our forecasts, obs and warnings at https://t.co/EdFZFQs1Kz pic.twitter.com/fJ42ycLXNu
— Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland (@BOM_Qld) November 19, 2019
The fire danger rating along the state’s southeast including the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, the Scenic Rim and Gold Coast has risen from high to very high and will stay that way until at least Thursday.
Seventy-four fires are burning across Queensland in the second week of the state’s bushfire crisis, which has burnt out 174,000 hectares.
South Australia and Western Australia
Catastrophic fire danger is forecast across Western Australia and South Australia today, with a severe fire danger forecast for the East Pilbara Inland, Goldfields and North Interior.
Very hot, dry conditions in Western Australia with gusterly, easterly winds will head in north to northwesterly directions through Goldfields and South Interior.
Winds in South Australia are expected to reach 65km/h at times in the central and western areas of the state. More than 100 schools closed on Tuesday and at-risk residents were told to leave their homes.
The Country Fire Service advised people living near bushland in catastrophic fire ban districts to leave late Tuesday or early Wednesday morning.
They warned a bushfire could not be controlled in such conditions. A total fire ban will be in place across the state.