NSW FIRES: the worst is over but still ‘a long effort yet’

There are still 83 fires burning across New South Wales today, though authorities say the worst is over.

After catastrophic conditions threatened parts of the state yesterday – with extreme heat and strong winds – authorities are now working with easing conditions to get multiple blazes under control.

Three lives were lost, as well as 200 properties, and more than 900 fire fighters remain on the frontline this morning.


50 fires remain uncontained around the state.

NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons says it’s still a ‘long effort yet’, and that around 1.1 million hectares of land is either burnt or on fire.

“The closest fire at ‘Watch and Act’ to Sydney is just to the north – the Gospers Mountain fire, which is burning from the top end of Lithgow through to Hawksbury, it crossed the putty road yesterday, impacting the communities of Mellong and Howes Swamp.

“It’s burning and spotting just north of the Wiseman’s Ferry, north west of the St Albans area.

“But then we go to northeastern NSW where we’ve still got one fire at the emergency warning alert level, the Liberation fire, which is to the west of Coffs Harbour, and overnight it burnt down, and spotted down, very close to around Nana Glen.

“It’s a significant sized fire, it’s in the order of 150,000 hectares, which means you’re talking about a fire perimeter of more than 1,000 kilometres.

“It’s still susceptible to wind influence and extending that fire perimeter over the coming days,” Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.

19 fires reached emergency warning alert level yesterday, and 16 at the peak time – which was only one less than the day before.

Approximately 150,000 text messages were sent out to residents in affected areas.

Over 3,000 fire fighters were deployed immediately or waiting on standby, not including emergency services personnel.

13 fire fighters sustained injuries during the day, though none were life threatening, and no one is unaccounted for at this stage.

The Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott says yesterday’s statistics are particularly ‘chilling’, though is extremely disappointed that four people were arrested for breaching the total fire ban order.

One minor was also given caution as well.

“You must have arrived from Mars in a bubble, if you didn’t know yesterday that the state was in severe danger,” Minister Elliot said.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has thanked everyone for their cooperation, and says the worst is over.

“Some might call it luck, I call it good planning and exceptional leadership, and I also call it exceptional courage and responsiveness from the community and it was a team effort and I’m incredibly proud of everyone across the state.

“While I don’t want to underscore the challenges we face in the next few days, we certainly wont be having the catastrophic conditions we experienced yesterday.

“And I just want to thank everyone fro stepping up but I do want to urge everyone to be cautious and vigilant, and to make sure in the next few days that everybody heeds to the warnings, still listens – it is on high alert – to make sure we continue to protect life and property,” Premier Berejiklian said.