New Year nightmare: Horror heatwave to spark more bushfires as exhausted firefighters are put on red alert and Australians are issued with urgent travel warnings
- Horror bushfire conditions are set to return to southern Australia on Friday
- ‘Severe’ heatwave expected to see mercury on Friday rise to 40C in Adelaide
- Very high fire danger has also been forecast for nine New South Wales regions
Horror bushfire conditions are set to return on Friday as high temperatures and dry winds are expected to again make firefighters’ lives a misery.
Two firefighters were killed and as many as 100 houses destroyed when bushfires ripped through New South Wales on Thursday and Saturday last week.
A ‘severe’ heatwave building over north-western Australia is expected to see temperatures rise to 40C in Adelaide before reaching Sydney on New Year’s Eve.
Very high fire danger is forecast for nine NSW regions on Friday, including the ACT, Greater Hunter and central and southern ranges. (Gospers Mountain fire pictured on December 21)
A ‘severe’ heatwave building over north-western Australia is expected to see temperatures rise to 40C in Adelaide before reaching Sydney on New Year’s Eve
Very high fire danger is forecast for nine NSW regions on Friday, including the ACT, Greater Hunter and central and southern ranges.
Firefighters have used recent milder conditions to strengthen containment lines and more than 1,400 were working on Boxing Day to slow the spread of fire.
But the Bureau of Meteorology on Thursday said a severe heatwave had also started building in southern parts of NSW on Friday and is likely to persist.
Highs of 36C are expected in Canberra, while regional centres such as Mudgee, Goulburn, Tamworth, Dubbo and Griffith are set for days above 35C.
‘Between Thursday and Saturday we are starting to see severe heatwave conditions in the southern parts of the state, extending over a more significant area of NSW into the weekend and next week,’ forecaster Rose Barr told AAP.
‘The fire danger will worsen into the new week, with Monday and Tuesday most likely to be the most significant fire weather days.’
Firefighters have used recent milder conditions to strengthen containment lines, but could now see their job made much more difficult by worsening conditions into the weekend
More than 75 fires were burning across the state on Thursday night, with 30 yet to be contained. RFS spokesman Inspector Ben Shepherd said the organisation had worked hard on containment through Christmas.
More than 1700 firefighters were in the field on Christmas Day.
‘The weather has been for once a little bit more in our favour but it’s still going to be a potentially difficult day come next week once we start to see that bad fire danger set in,’ Insp Shepherd told AAP on Thursday.
Fire and Rescue NSW commissioner Paul Baxter on Thursday thanked firefighters who worked through Christmas, noting their commitment, dedication, professionalism and selflessness.
The federal government, meanwhile, extended the Australian disaster recovery payment to the Mid-Western local government area of NSW, enabling payments of $1000 per adult and $400 per child to those worst hit by bushfires.