It seems this unprecedented early bushfire season isn’t going anywhere, with a bunch of NSW bushfires joining up to create what Hawkesbury City Council deputy mayor Mary Lyons-Buckett is calling a “mega fire” on the north-west outskirts of Sydney.
The 60-kilometre mega fire runs all the way up to Singleton, and is now larger size-wise than the Sydney metropolitan area, which is properly fucked up.
The three fires that joined yesterday were the one at Gospers Mountain, the Little L Complex and Paddock Run.
The NSW Rural Fire Service made a statement today, saying the mega fire will not be put out any time soon.
“The total area burnt by these fires is around 335,000 hectares. These will take many weeks to put out – and only when we get good rain.”
Evacuation centres have been set up at the Cessnock and Wyong Rugby League clubs and Gosford RSL.
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Dean Sgarbossa told the ABC that this weekend has some decent weather in store for fire fighters, which is good news.
“Although we will see a continuation of dry, hot conditions, the winds will ease. Some will ease on Saturday but more so on Sunday when the pressure builds over the Tasman Sea, directing lower temperatures, high humidity but lighter winds, particularly over the adjacent coast where many of these fires are located.”
However there is no rain in the forecast for this week, and those strong winds are set to pick back up – the RFS has a pretty small window to work with in terms of good fire-fighting weather.
NSW RFS commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said in a statement on Friday that the drought has had a huge impact on this year’s fire season.
“We can’t overstate the effect that this profound drought is having… on the flammability of the fuel. You are seeing fires start very easily and they are spreading extremely quickly and they are burning ridiculously intensely.”