PDA

View Full Version : More than 30 bushfires rampage around Sydney


CHOCO
Dec 4th, 2002, 03:24 PM
http://abc.net.au/news/imageLibrary/02/12/04/g0212040021204pm_bushfires.jpg
Raging bushfires threaten many Sydney homes



More than 30 bushfires rampage around Sydney

The New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) says two new fires that broke out in the lower Blue Mountains west of Sydney this evening are posing no threat to property.

However, there are still about 30 fires blazing in the Sydney Basin.

More than 300 people have been evacuated from homes South of Nowra after a blaze destroyed five properties around Nowra Hill.

Shoalhaven local area Commander Wayne Dedden says conditions have eased but firefighters are preparing for similar conditions tommorrow.

Meanwhile, the RFS has issued an alert to residents at Mount Kuringai, Cowan, Berowra, Berowra Waters, Berowra Heights and Brooklyn to be on high alert.

The Glenorie blaze in Sydney's north is expected to jump into the Mougamarra Nature Reserve and move towards properties tomorrow.

RFS spokesman John Winter says residents who can stay at home tommorrow should do so.

The Rural Fire Service [RFS] says 10 to 15 homes have been destroyed at Glenorie in Old Northern road, Meridan road and Mount View road.

Homes in Alfords Point in Sydney's south are being evacuated after a massive fire jumped the Georges River shortly after 7:00pm AEDT yesterday.

The fire had moved swiftly through the Holsworthy Army base and across to Sandy Point where it jumped the river.

More than 100 emergency service workers in the area, with another 100 on the way.

There is also concern for residents of Glenfield and Wattle Grove near the Holsworthy base.

RFS spokeswoman Meeka Bailey says some buildings on the army base have been damaged, but it is still unclear if any homes nearby have been affected.

There are also numerous fires in the Baulkham Hills area that are causing concerns for houses.

The RFS says there are unconfirmed reports of firefighters and civilians being injured in the Maroota fire.


Shoalhaven

In Shoalhaven, the RFS is advising residents in a number of areas immediately south of Nowra to evacuate to the Nowra Showground.

Up to four homes have burnt to the ground in Gannett Road.

Shoalhaven Fire Command spokeswoman June Webster says the situation has become very serious.

"In the Albatross Road, Nowra Hill and Btu Road areas at one stage there were 50 metre flame heights in Gannett Road, and they are asking people to evacuate the area bounded by Albatross Road and Yalwal Road and go to Nowra Showground," Ms Webster said.

People evacuating their homes are asked to register at the evacuation centre even if they are travelling to friends houses to stay.

The Princes Highway south of Nowra has been closed to all traffic.

The RFS is now advising residents in east Nowra to also prepare for possible evacuation later yesterday evening.

Meanwhile, more than 300 residents from Alfords Point in Sydney's south are spending the night at a local club after being evacuated from their homes.

Operations Manager of Club Menai Janice Thelman says many of the locals still do not know if they will have houses to return to.

"They started coming in about 5.20pm [AEDT yesterday], there was a few people that were a little bit distressed because the major problem was not knowing what is happening back at their home and whether their home has been destroyed or whatever," Ms Thelman said.

"Because they didn't have time, it moved so fast - they didn't have time to grab anything."

At Glenorie, an evacuation has been established at Dural Country Club.

Road closures in the area include Halcrow Road, Boundary Road, Cattai Ridge Road, Old Northern Road and Pitt Town Road.

Voluntary evacuations are in place for Alford's Point.

In Sutherland, up to 600 people have been evacuated from Sandy Point near Heathcote to the Revesby Workers Club.

CHOCO
Dec 4th, 2002, 04:19 PM
Ring of flame surrounds Sydney

05.12.2002


SYDNEY - Sydney firefighters battled more than 60 bushfires that sprang up around Australia's largest city yesterday.

Conditions were made worse by soaring temperatures and strong winds, which fanned flames, sending a pall of smoke across the city to the ocean.

Five firefighters and two residents suffered burns and were taken to hospital.

Some buildings were destroyed and power supplies were disrupted across the city of four million.

"We have over 60 fires burning around the metropolitan area and we are resourcing them as we can," Rural Fire Service Commissioner Phil Koperberg said.

"It's critical now that people living in the fire areas take the necessary measures to protect themselves and their residences."

Koperberg said he had declared a bushfire emergency in four areas.

Firefighters evacuated residents from suburbs in Sydney's northwest and southwest as fires burnt out of bushland towards residential streets. Surf lifesavers prepared boats to evacuate residents from coastal suburbs surrounded by bush.

Some of Sydney's major west-bound roads were closed due to the fires, creating traffic chaos as commuters tried to get home to protect their homes.

Some drivers said they had to turn on their car lights to drive through the thick black smoke from one fire near the Sydney 2000 Olympics suburb of Homebush.

"This fire is huge, it's enormous," said one.

One of Sydney's major western freeways was closed by fire on both sides.

Metropolitan train services were also disrupted.

Another fire at Wiseman's Ferry on the northwest outskirts of the city was threatening 250 homes.

Electricity supplies were disrupted, trapping office workers in lifts, after bushfires affected power lines and electricity sub-stations.

Australia is in the grip of one of its worst droughts in 100 years and fire fighters have battled hundreds of bushfires in five states in recent months in what is shaping up as one of Australia's worst bushfire seasons.

By the end of last week, almost 470,000 hectares of land had been burned in Australia's most populous state, New South Wales.

The worst period for bushfires is usually December and January, but firefighters this year have been battling blazes - many deliberately lit - since July.

Last Christmas, some of the worst bushfires ringed Sydney, burning through 770,000 hectares and destroying 109 houses.

The fire service says 20,000 homes were saved from the flames.

- REUTERS

Hagar
Dec 4th, 2002, 09:31 PM
Oh damn it! :(
Not this year, when I go to Sydney on holiday! :fiery:

Sam L
Dec 5th, 2002, 05:30 AM
It's really bad now, the sun is red :mad:

Hagar, don't say "not this year", these days it's every year with the help of arsonists.

It used to be that we get about bushfires of this scale once every 5 years, now IT'S EVERY YEAR!

Seriously we've gotta do something or we're going to be bankrupt.

Today is a little cooler but the fires are everywhere.

I was sitting my office before and you could see smoke on all corners.

:(

Robbie.
Dec 5th, 2002, 05:40 AM
These poor people :fiery: This is two years in a row now :sad:

Mattographer
Dec 5th, 2002, 05:57 AM
I don't want to happening again!! :fiery: It's hotter weather here from the damn fires!! :mad: I hate the heat!! :(

CHOCO
Dec 5th, 2002, 12:13 PM
Australian city threatened by bush fires
Army called in to help battle fires nearing Sydney

SYDNEY (AP) — Powerful brush fires destroyed houses and cars on the outskirts of Sydney today, but 3,000 firefighters managed to save dozens of other dwellings.

Fire service spokesman John Winter said 17 homes had been razed since the fires erupted Wednesday afternoon — fewer than previously feared.

Television images showed flames engulfing buildings in the northwestern Sydney suburb of Glenorie as residents and firefighters tried to douse the flames.

"The saves have been quite incredible," said Phil Koperberg, commissioner of New South Wales state Rural Fire Service. "The men and women on the ground today have performed miraculously."

Hundreds of elderly people and children were evacuated as flames bore down on their homes but fire officials urged others to stay with their houses and hose them down to minimize damage.

A 73-year-old man died as he tried to herd horses away from a wall of flames, according to media reports.

Extra firefighters were being transferred to Sydney, Australia's most populous city, from other states to relieve their exhausted colleagues.

Prime Minister John Howard also offered the country's defence forces to help battle the blazes which were fanned by hot, dry winds from the Outback as temperatures nudged 30 C.

A pall of grey smoke drifted over downtown Sydney from fires raging to the northwest and west of the city of four million. Other blazes were burning out of control to the southwest.

After a relatively calm morning, fires started to pick up in the early afternoon.

"There is no doubt the fires are stirring and threatening and we can reasonably expect . . . that there is going to be a lot more activity before this day is out," said New South Wales Emergency Services Minister Bob Debus.

New South Wales political leader Bob Carr said at least one of the fires might have been sparked by a cigarette butt thrown from a car window. Other blazes, he said, may have been deliberately lit.

"This is the most extreme form of anti-social behaviour you can see in our society," Carr told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.

As well as thousands of firefighters on the ground, dozens of water bombing helicopters and planes were in the air.

The main western highway in and out of Sydney was closed as a fire started in the Blue Mountains about 90 kilometres west of the city.

In the intense heat, flames leapt 60 metres in the air and oil-filled eucalyptus trees exploded.

Sandra Johansen said she, her husband and a friend were trapped in their home in Glenorie. All were saved when two more firefighters appeared, carrying the eight to safety.

"They are our guardian angels — they saved all of our lives," Johansen said.

CHOCO
Dec 5th, 2002, 06:48 PM
Sydney fires worst in 30 years: RFS

Rural Fire Service commissioner Phil Koperberg says the bushfire emergency is the worst Sydney has experienced in up to 30 years.

More than 3,000 firefighters are battling up to 75 major blazes to the north, west and south of Sydney.

Mr Koperberg says properties will remain under threat for some time as weather conditions remain atrocious.

Fire crews from Victoria and South Australia are travelling to Sydney tonight and are expected to join the fight tomorrow.

Mr Koperburg says there is no relief in sight.

"It's as bad as Christmas, New Year, it's as bad as Christmas day if not a little bit worse," he said.

"The immediate environments of Sydney have probably not faced a threat like this for 20 or 30 years. We've either had fires in the north or the south or the west but rarely have we had fires effectively along the length and breadth of the corridor, which is Penrith to Sydney city."

CHOCO
Dec 6th, 2002, 05:22 PM
http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/photobylines/2002/12/06/fire372.jpg
A bushfire near Sydney. Photo: AP



Fatal bushfires tear into Sydney

Staff and agencies
Friday December 6, 2002


The worst bushfires Australia has seen in 30 years have claimed two lives and destroyed at least 19 homes in the past two days, the authorities said today.
Sparks and ash were today raining down on Sydney, Australia's most populous city, after flames jumped a river and roads and raced toward its outlying suburbs. The sky over the city was shrouded in smoke, and the state's top firefighter predicted that the crisis would only intensify.

"The worst historical period in New South Wales's fire season ... is still before us, not behind us," warned Phil Koperberg, the head of the state's rural fire service.

More than 4,500 firefighters, many of them volunteers, beat back flames with the help of water-bombing aircraft. Residents tried to safeguard homes with buckets and hoses.

Catherine Bourne and her three children returned to their home on Sydney's outskirts this morning before having to flee again as fires broke out. "It's sort of freakish. One minute it's nothing and the next minute it's ferocious," she said. "I just saw flames. I grabbed the kids, put them in the car and went."

Police suspect some fires were started deliberately. An 18-year-old student charged with starting one of the fires was due in court today. If convicted of arson, he could face a maximum 14-year sentence. Other fires may have been started by people throwing cigarette butts out of car windows, officials said.

Early today, officials said a drop in temperatures to around 23C (73F) was easing conditions after days of soaring temperatures, but as winds picked up in the afternoon, so did the fires.

Rural fire service spokesman John Winter said firefighters had saved hundreds of homes in the north, south and west of Sydney. "The fire is now starting to move again ... we're seeing the fire picking up and burning toward property," he said, adding that an unknown number of homes in northwestern Sydney had caught fire today.

The fires claimed their second casualty today with police discovering the body of a 71-year-old man in northwestern Sydney. Officers tried to reach him late last night but were beaten back by flames. A 73-year-old man died of a heart attack late on Wednesday as he tried to round up and save a herd of horses.

Firefighters have been warning for months that Sydney faced a devastating bushfire season over the hot southern hemisphere summer. The city and much of New South Wales has been in the grip of a serious drought for several months.

Weather forecasters are predicting that conditions should ease tomorrow with cooler conditions, but that on Monday, temperatures could rise above 40C (104F) with strong winds gusting up to 50 mph. "We've got 72 hours to do what is impossible to do in 72 hours and that's extinguish all that fire," Mr Koperberg said.

CHOCO
Dec 7th, 2002, 11:52 PM
More properties to be threatened by fire: RFS

The New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) has warned more properties will come under threat today as Sydney's bushfire emergency continues to rage.

More than 40 homes have been destroyed over the past four days, and there is no sign of the bushfire emergency abating.

Firefighters are preparing for a horrid afternoon with hot, dry and windy weather conditions forecast.

Cameron Wade from the RFS says they are at the mercy of the weather.

"At this stage that's exactly right, the weather will be the all encompassing focus today," he said.

"It will be basically testing the work that has been done over the last 24 hours and fire crews are on standby in very strategic locations to deal with any outbreaks should they occur.

Fires to the north of Sydney and in the Blue Mountains are causing the greatest concern.

Firefighters worked throughout the night establishing containment lines and burning fire breaks.

Their effectiveness is likely to be tested this afternoon when the fires flare up.

Meanwhile firefighters from South Australia and Victoria are being deployed to some of the worst areas to provide some much-needed relief.


My condolences to all Australians for this disaster.