Strong winds have caused early morning havoc in Sydney, damaging roofs and blowing trees down onto roads and power lines in the city’s west, leaving more than 20,000 homes without power.
The windy weather plus hot temperatures are combining to cause an increased bushfire risk for much of the country on Tuesday with an ‘extreme’ risk declared for the Greater Sydney area.
The NSW State Emergency Service said it had received 162 calls for help across Sydney from 3am, with most from Camden, Campbelltown, Liverpool and Penrith.
‘Significant damage has been reported with parts of roofs blown off residential and commercial properties, trees falling onto houses and scaffolding falling,’ the SES said in a statement.
Wind gusts of 104km/h were recorded at Badgerys Creek about 3am, while 98km/h winds were recorded at Camden.
Strong winds have cause trees to collapse in Sydney’s west, taking out power lines and leaving 20,000 homes without power
The downed power lines also sparked grass fires in Sydney, fanned along by strong winds
SES volunteers were helping with the clean-up across Sydney early on Tuesday.
The Transport Management Centre urged motorists to take care and allow extra travel time as a number of roads were closed due to fallen trees and power lines.
Winds eased below warning thresholds as the sun rose.
But firefighters are bracing for extreme bushfire conditions over much of the country.
The NSW Rural Fire Service issued bushfire condition warnings for the Sydney area and parts of the north of the state.
While firefighters continue to battle a blaze west of Brisbane for a second week.
Temperatures on Tuesday afternoon are particularly hot over the northern part of the country
The SES responded to 162 calls for help across Sydney early on Tuesday morning
There was some reprieve on Monday for fatigued crews trying to contain the Western Downs fire thanks to milder conditions.
However an extreme fire danger on Tuesday is forecast for the Darling Downs and Granite Belt area where the Tara blaze continues to threaten houses.
The fire has already claimed one life and destroyed almost 50 houses in the past week, at one stage forcing hundreds to evacuate their homes.
It is one of 80 fires currently burning in Queensland.
Overall, there have been 900 fires across the state in the past 10 days.
‘Tomorrow we’re going into, particularly in the Darling Downs area and the Granite Belt, an episode of extreme fire danger rating,’ Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) acting deputy commissioner Joanne Greenfield said.
‘It means when fire gets on the ground it will be quite hard to control. To help us with that we’ve put in fire bans across the state.’
Fire crews continue to battle blazes in southwest Queensland as fire conditions heighten on Tuesday (pictured)
Total fire bans are in place for 64 of Queensland’s 77 local government areas ahead of Tuesday’s scorcher, with high temperatures and strong winds forecast.
High fire dangers are forecast throughout the state’s west.
‘Whilst we have extreme fire dangers tomorrow, we are hoping for some reprieve moving into Wednesday, Thursday, Friday,’ QFES Acting Assistant Commissioner Peter Hollier said.
‘However, there will still be high fire dangers particularly in the western parts of the state.
The Tara fire has reportedly burned more than 20,000 hectares.
‘It’s very critical that people are aware of their circumstances, they are heeding the warning, they have a plan, they know what to do, where to go and who to contact.’
A massive bushfire near Tara in southern Queensland has been burning for weeks
It is estimated to have scorched about 20,000 hectares of land (pictured)
Interstate crews are on their way to help, with 12 fire trucks from Victoria expected.
Incident management teams and air attack supervisors are also set to join local crews.
Hundreds of people were forced to flee their homes on the Western Downs, with about 300 arriving at evacuation centres at Dalby and Chinchilla.
On Monday, that number was down to 49 as people started to return to their homes.
But some will need alternative accommodation after losing everything in the Tara fire that has reportedly burned more than 20,000 hectares.
Damage assessments have revealed 46 homes have been destroyed.
Western Downs residents were still being told to evacuate with the fire threatening on the northern front late on Monday.
Meanwhile Sydney is under a second straight day of extreme fire danger due to forecast hot and windy conditions.
The Greater Sydney, Illawarra/Shoalhaven, New England, northern slopes and north western regions are all due to face extreme fire danger on Tuesday.
Under extreme fire danger, people should prepare to protect their life and property, check their bushfire plan and ensure their property is fire ready.
Travel through bushfire risk areas should also be reconsidered.
The regions are among seven facing total fire bans in NSW on Tuesday amid the forecast of deteriorating conditions.
But the NSW RFS has declared an increased bushfire risk for Sydney and parts of northern NSW (in the orange areas)
Warm and dry weather with fresh northwesterly winds is forecast, with potentially severe afternoon and early evening thunderstorms forming along the northern half of the coast and ranges.
A milder, fresh south to southwesterly change is expected to spread across the state throughout the day.
Firefighters late on Monday gained the upper hand on an out-of-control blaze in inaccessible terrain northeast of Tenterfield.
The 65ha bush fire was one of several in the northern Tablelands expected to spread east under westerly winds on Tuesday.
The Glen Innes RSL and Tenterfield Showground has been opened to accommodate locals leaving early ahead of forecast extreme fire danger.
As of Monday evening, about 80 bush and grass fires were burning across the state, including a handful out of control.
THE WEATHER FORECAST IN YOUR CITY THIS WEEK
Tuesday Sunny. Max 34
Wednesday Partly cloudy. Min 20 Max 27
Thursday Partly cloudy. Min 18 Max 25
Friday Partly cloudy. Min 18 Max 26
Tuesday Partly cloudy. Max 29
Wednesday Partly cloudy. Min 14 Max 21
Thursday Partly cloudy. Min 14 Max 23
Friday Partly cloudy. Min 13 Max 25
Tuesday Partly cloudy. Max 16
Wednesday Cloudy. Min 9 Max 17
Thursday Cloudy. Min 9 Max 19
Friday Partly cloudy. Min 9 Max 19
Tuesday Partly cloudy. Max 19
Wednesday Mostly sunny. Min 8 Max 23
Thursday Mostly sunny. Min 10 Max 24
Friday Mostly sunny. Min 11 Max 25
Tuesday Mostly sunny. Max 28
Wednesday Sunny. Min 16 Max 30
Thursday Mostly sunny. Min 16 Max 33
Friday Partly cloudy. Min 17 Max 37
Tuesday Shower or two. Max 16
Wednesday Partly cloudy. Min 8 Max 21
Thursday Cloudy. Min 8 Max 21
Friday Shower or two. Min 9 Max 18
Tuesday Partly cloudy. Max 35
Wednesday Mostly sunny. Min 26 Max 35
Thursday Sunny. Min 26 Max 35
Friday Sunny. Min 25 Max 36
Tuesday Sunny. Max 21
Wednesday Partly cloudy. Min 5 Max 21
Thursday Mostly sunny. Min 4 Max 24
Friday Partly cloudy. Min 6 Max 25