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Devastating bushfire north of Sydney intensifies ‘dramatically’ and starts to ‘flare and run’

An emergency level bushfire burning outside Sydney has intensified ‘dramatically’ and those living in its vicinity have been told it is too late to flee.

The Gospers Mountain fire – described as a dangerous, active blaze by the New South Wales Rural Fire Service – was still burning at an emergency level on Tuesday night 100km north-west of the city’s CBD. 

The RFS urged those living around the village of Colo Heights at about 8pm to seek shelter as the flames rapidly approaching their homes.

 

The emergency level Gospers Mountain bushfire (pictured on Tuesday at Wheelbarrow Ridge Roar near Colo Heights) burning outside Sydney has intensified dramatically and those living in its vicinity have been told it is too late to flee

Described as a dangerous, active blaze by the New South Wales Rural Fire Service - firefighters (pictured protecting the Colo Heights Public School on Tuesday) were still battling the emergency level blaze on Tuesday evening 100km north-west of the city's CBD

Described as a dangerous, active blaze by the New South Wales Rural Fire Service – firefighters (pictured protecting the Colo Heights Public School on Tuesday) were still battling the emergency level blaze on Tuesday evening 100km north-west of the city’s CBD

The RFS urged those living around the village of Colo Heights at about 8pm to seek shelter as it was too late to leave (pictured fire burning outside a home near the village)

The RFS urged those living around the village of Colo Heights at about 8pm to seek shelter as it was too late to leave (pictured fire burning outside a home near the village)

An RFS firefighter stood in front of a wall of red haze as he fought bravely to protect Colo Heights Public School from being impacted by the Gospers Mountain fire

An RFS firefighter stood in front of a wall of red haze as he fought bravely to protect Colo Heights Public School from being impacted by the Gospers Mountain fire

The smoke from the Gospers Mountain fire has dragged smog over Sydney

The smoke from the Gospers Mountain fire has dragged smog over Sydney

Firefighters have been grappling with the blaze for days, with the emergency level warning already raised once already in the area since Friday.

One home was claimed on Friday by the fire, but Rural Fire Service spokesman Greg Allan said many residents were now facing the prospect of losing their homes to the blaze.  

‘There could be properties on the northern side of Colo Heights at Yengo Drive affected by the fire,’ NSW RFS spokesman Greg Allan told Daily Mail Australia.

‘We have seen an increase in activity around Colo Heights and due to the closeness of the properties to the fire the current advice is to go under a solid structure to protect yourself from the heat.’

Mr Allan added though a southerly change tonight was due to push the flames away from the current site.

‘We are seeing a southerly change going across the fireground shortly and push it north,’ he said.

Firefighters have been grappling with the blaze for multiple days (pictured at Wheelbarrow Ridge Road), with the emergency level warning already raised once already in the area since Friday

Firefighters have been grappling with the blaze for multiple days (pictured at Wheelbarrow Ridge Road), with the emergency level warning already raised once already in the area since Friday

One home was claimed on Friday by the fire, but Rural Fire Service spokesman Greg Allan said many residents were now facing the prospect of losing their homes to the blaze (firefighters pictured at Wheelbarrow Ridge Road)

One home was claimed on Friday by the fire, but Rural Fire Service spokesman Greg Allan said many residents were now facing the prospect of losing their homes to the blaze (firefighters pictured at Wheelbarrow Ridge Road)

There were more than 1,500 firefighters fighting 55 bush and grass fires across New South Wales as of just before 10pm, but the RFS said 328 were fighting the Gospers Mountain blaze – more than a fifth of the total number. 

Other areas under threat include Putty Road and Wheelbarrow Creek as the blaze ‘flares and runs’, The Daily Telegraph reported.  

Those living in Glen Davis, Newnes, Glen Alice, Putty Valley, and Yengo Drive were told to monitor conditions by fire authorities. 

There were more than 1,500 firefighters fighting 55 bush and grass fires across New South Wales as of just before 10pm, but the RFS said 328 were fighting the Gospers Mountain blaze (one pictured aiming water at a flaming tree on Wheelbarrow Ridge Road) - more than a fifth of the total number

There were more than 1,500 firefighters fighting 55 bush and grass fires across New South Wales as of just before 10pm, but the RFS said 328 were fighting the Gospers Mountain blaze (one pictured aiming water at a flaming tree on Wheelbarrow Ridge Road) – more than a fifth of the total number

'There could be properties on the northern side of Colo Heights at Yengo Drive affected by the fire,' NSW RFS spokesman Greg Allan told Daily Mail Australia (firefighter pictured fighting blaze near Colo Heights Public School)

‘There could be properties on the northern side of Colo Heights at Yengo Drive affected by the fire,’ NSW RFS spokesman Greg Allan told Daily Mail Australia (firefighter pictured fighting blaze near Colo Heights Public School)

'We have seen an increase in activity around Colo Heights and due to the closeness of the properties to the fire the current advice is to go under a solid structure to protect yourself from the heat,' Mr Allan said

‘We have seen an increase in activity around Colo Heights and due to the closeness of the properties to the fire the current advice is to go under a solid structure to protect yourself from the heat,’ Mr Allan said

Two residents watched on as fire burns close to property on Wheelbarrow Ridge Road at Colo Heights

Two residents watched on as fire burns close to property on Wheelbarrow Ridge Road at Colo Heights

The Wyall Creek fire in northern NSW’s Richmond Valley reached emergency level on Tuesday as well, before being downgraded in the evening. 

Another worrying warning issued by the RFS on Tuesday said fires burning in the state’s north were expected to join together in the 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,’ the service said on Twitter.

Other areas under threat include Putty Road and Wheelbarrow Creek (fire on Wheelbarrow Ridge Road pictureed) as the blaze 'flares and runs'

Other areas under threat include Putty Road and Wheelbarrow Creek (fire on Wheelbarrow Ridge Road pictureed) as the blaze ‘flares and runs’

A firefighter runs away from burning trees on Wheelbarrow Ridge Road as his colleague tries to extinguish the blaze

A firefighter runs away from burning trees on Wheelbarrow Ridge Road as his colleague tries to extinguish the blaze

Three areas have total fire bans on Tuesday in the north of the state – New England, the northern slopes and north western areas. 

500 homes have been lost to the fires so far this bushfire season and 1.7million hectares of land destroyed. 

Dozens of people have also been treated for smoke inhalation across Sydney as the city’s air quality plummets to the lowest in the world.

500 homes have been lost to the fires so far this bushfire season, and 1.7million hectares of land destroyed

500 homes have been lost to the fires so far this bushfire season, and 1.7million hectares of land destroyed

The smog from the Gospers Mountain fire was dragged over the city, causing at least 44 people to call paramedics with breathing problems by 1pm.

The blanket of smoke sparked warnings for asthma sufferers and people with breathing issues to stay indoors.

The smog from the fire was first brought over Sydney on Tuesday morning. 

Mr Allan added though a southerly change tonight was due to push the flames away from the current fireground (pictured on Wheelbarrow Ridge Road)

Mr Allan added though a southerly change tonight was due to push the flames away from the current fireground (pictured on Wheelbarrow Ridge Road)

The warnings come as Sydney's air quality hits 800 micrograms of the air pollutant PM2.5 - a result of the Gospers Mountain fire

The warnings come as Sydney’s air quality hits 800 micrograms of the air pollutant PM2.5 – a result of the Gospers Mountain fire

Sydney’s air quality hit 800 micrograms of the air pollutant PM2.5 at one point during the day.

A safe level of PM2.5 is between 34 and 66.

The air in India’s notoriously polluted capital Delhi measured between 172 and 467 and Hong Kong reached 107.

Sydney has looked much different this week to what it normally looks like on a clear day

Dozens of people across Sydney have been treated for smoke inhalation across Sydney on Wednesday (pictured left a smoke haze covering Sydney this week, and right what Sydney looks like on a clear day)

Tuesday and Thursday will be ‘tough days’ for NSW, Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said.

Temperatures are likely to rise to the 40s and there is no rainfall forecast.

Most of the east coast is under severe or very high fire danger ratings, with more than 50 fires burning across the state of which 28 remain uncontained.   

A state of emergency declared by Premier Gladys Berejiklian ended on Tuesday, but NSW Police deputy commissioner Gary Warboys says emergency services could reach out to her again.

‘It’s been pretty clear that if we need (a state of emergency) government is in a position to, and keen to, assist us to provide protection and safety to the community,’ Mr Warboys said. 

‘Watch and act’ alerts were in place on Tuesday afternoon for a 15,000ha blaze at Ebor, east of Armidale, and a 21,000ha fire at Bora Ridge, west of Evans Head. 

The blanket of smoke (pictured) over Sydney prompted health authorities to warn asthma sufferers and people with breathing issues to stay indoors

The blanket of smoke (pictured) over Sydney prompted health authorities to warn asthma sufferers and people with breathing issues to stay indoors 

SMOKE IRRITATION AND INHALATION

Smoke pollution can affect people for many days after it is inhaled. People with existing lung conditions, such as asthma, may experience an exacerbation of their symptoms. 

 Itchy/burning eyes

Runny nose

Shortness of breath

Headaches

 Irritated sinuses

Throat irritation

Cough 

 

All are at ‘advice’ level with more than 1,300 firefighters on the ground.

Six lives have been lost since NSW bushfire season first hit this year.

Parts of the state under severe fire danger on Tuesday include Greater Sydney, Greater Hunter, Illawarra/Shoalhaven, Southern Ranges and Central Ranges fire regions. 

This map shows how the Air Quality in Sydney deteriorated overnight as the smoke blew over - with the red parts worst affected

This map shows how the Air Quality in Sydney deteriorated overnight as the smoke blew over – with the red parts worst affected

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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