'Gobsmacked': 500 firefighters battle bushfires in NSW

Remigio Civitarese
Agosto 16, 2018

"We are concerned about a return to these gusty conditions on Saturday", RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said. There are 18 uncontained fires burning north of Port Macquarie.

Fire bans were issued across most of NSW on Wednesday - something not seen in August for nearly a decade, officials said.

A resident hoses down a shed destroyed by the fire at Bomaderry.

There is a total fire ban in place for Sydney, Illawarra and the Hunter Valley.

Last week, a shocking 100 percent of New South Wales was declared to be in a drought. "It's only been three months since the last fire we had in Holsworthy in April". Mrs Shea watched from a distance as smoke billowed into her property, where 10 horses had to be left behind.

Nearby resident Barry Matthews said "absolutely howling" winds woke him about 6am.

Blazes on the NSW south coast at Mount Kingiman and North Nowra, which threatened homes on Wednesday, have been downgraded amid cooler and calmer conditions but hundreds of firefighters remain on scene.

Fire crews had already been on high alert with warm and windy weather forecast across the state.

Emergency warnings have been issued for both bushfires, and some people have been told it is "too late to leave". Although the Clarence Valley fire at Bristol Arms Road is burning close to some properties, they are not now under threat.

"All this is about is low humidity, dry fuel and strong winds".

Even without an early declaration of the fire season - which brings restrictions on burning-off activities - authorities are understood to have been preparing to shift assets to regions that are considered to have especially high fire risks this spring.

That contingent is helping to co-ordinate responses to huge blazes that continue to burn in California and other USA states.

Countering the ability to bolster resources is the deployment of about 200 firefighters to North America at the start of August, many of them from NSW.

The early-season bushfires are also likely to stretch the aerial resources of NSW and other states in Australia.

More than 500 firefighters are struggling to contain dozens of unseasonable blazes burning from Victoria to Queensland, with conditions set to worsen in the coming days.

Meanwhile, fire crews are desperately working to control a fire burning between West Cambrewarra Rd and the Princes Highway at North Nowra.

"In my time I don't recall quite as many fires and the length and breadth of the fires", he said.

The RFS said emergency phone messages have been sent to residents in the area who are advised to take shelter as the fire front approaches.

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