Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Large bushfire burns near homes on Sydney outskirts

Sydney bushfire still out of control and may have been deliberately lit Firefighters battle major bush fire in Sydney suburbs
Orlando Vargas | 16 April, 2018, 10:51

"It will be a tough week for firefighters because unfortunately what we really need is a meaningful rain right across this fire ground and right across other parts of NSW", he said.

Fire burns at Wattle Grove in Sydney.

With strong winds forecast to strengthen through the day, Rural Fire Services Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers cautioned conditions may once again deteriorate.

Over the weekend the blaze was declared an emergency a number of times but was downgraded to watch and act when winds dropped down to around 15 to 25 kilometres per hour.

The fire has already destroyed about 1,000 hectares of bushland around Holsworthy and Menai, with 500 firefighters trying to control it.

The bushfire threatened homes in Sydney, with some locals being forced to evacuate their homes over the weekend, while others were told it was too unsafe to leave.

Late yesterday, the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) said the fire had burnt about 2,430 hectares around Holsworthy and Menai, and some properties had been damaged.

"We have had reports of impact on properties in west Menai and Barden Ridge but our crews at the moment are exclusively focused on fighting the fire", he told AAP.

"It was pretty scary", he told AAP when finally opening a beer, thankful his house came with sprinklers on the roof.

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Wind speeds are expected to be similar today.

New South Wales RFS said the blaze was "highly suspicious", with Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons saying, "How dare anyone - if they are deliberately involved in lighting fires - endanger our firefighters and also [put] all these communities in harm's way".

More than 200 people visited an emergency centre at Moorebank Sports Club overnight, with local hotels offering accommodation to residents unable to return to their homes, ABC said.

"Still quite a hard day ahead (on Monday)", he told the Nine Network.

"I think we've got a long way to go before we're out of the woods", he said.

"Residents in the area of Sandy Point and Alfords Point should continue to monitor the conditions as they could change quickly", the RFS said in an alert at 6am.

Fire investigators are working with NSW Police's Strikeforce Carpi to determine the cause of the blaze which started on Saturday at Casula and is being treated as suspicious.

Heathcote Road remains closed between Macarthur Drive and New Illawarra Road, while Old Illawarra Road at Barden Ridge has re-opened.

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