Thousands of firefighters are battling major fires in New South Wales and Queensland, but the worst is yet to come. Tuesday will see catastrophic fire conditions across the eastern states. It is rare that a catastrophic warning is sounded by the fire authorities. This rating is held for weather events that are so far out of the norm it is assumed that once a fire gets going it will cause untold damage and there is little the fire agencies can do about it.
Already a million hectares have been burnt, hundreds of houses and unfortunately three lives. These fires will not be controlled when the catastrophic weather hits major population centres including the outskirts of Sydney.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has declared a state of emergency, describing the crisis as “some of the most devastating bushfires we have ever seen”.
It’s the first state of emergency in NSW since October 2013, when major bushfires swept the state in similar weather conditions, combining gusty winds and hot, dry land.
It is the first time the Sydney region, including the Blue Mountains and Central Coast, has faced a catastrophic warning in the 10-year history of fire danger ratings.