‘It Is Too Late To Leave’: Bushfires In NSW & Victoria Upgraded To Highest Emergency Warning

nsw bushfires upgraded to highlest emergency level, catching up to the vic bushfires

Bushfires in Victoria have been upgraded to the highest emergency warning level, with residents being ordered to take shelter for their lives as the out of control fires continue to burn. Meanwhile, fires in NSW are at a “watch and act” level — AKA the final alert level before an emergency warning.

NSW warnings

The RFS has issued two emergency warning alerts in NSW due to two out of control bushfires— one in Coolagolite near Bega, and one in Kearsley near Cessnock. This is the final and highest warning alert, meaning that it is too late for residents to evacuate, and now they must shelter from the coming fire.

Those in the Abernathy area in Kearsley, and residents in Bermagui, Cuttagee or Barragga Bay areas must stay inside at this point evacuation could mean death.

“You are in danger. It is now too late to leave. Seek shelter now inside a solid structure such as a house,” the NSW RFS website reads.

NSW firefighters are also battling an 8-hectare bushfire in Martinsville near Lake Macquarie, which has been updated to “watch and act”. This means that conditions can change quickly and residents need to take action now, before it’s too late to evacuate.

Keep up to date with NSW bushfire warnings here.

Victoria warnings

Three out of control fires in Victoria were already at emergency warning level on Tuesday morning, with residents in Briagolong, Cobbannah, Culloden, Moornapa, Woolenook, as well as Seacombe and Loch Sport urged to take shelter.

The Briagolong fire has since been downgraded from an emergency warning to a “watch and act” message, since rain has started to fall in the area, giving firefighters the upperhand.

However, another fire near Briagolong has grown to 17,500 hectares with a perimeter of 109 kilometres, per the ABC. It was only 5.5km away from Fernbank as of 3pm on Tuesday afternoon.

Both these fires are have been downgraded to “prepare to evacuate” warnings, with residents in Fernbank, Lindenow South, Stratford, Walpa, Woodglen, Perry Bridge Stockdale, Iguana Creek, and Glenaladale told to leave now “before conditions become too dangerous”.

Those evacuating should do so via Princes Highway heading towards Sale. You can either head to the home of friends/family who are outside the danger zone, or evacuate to the Emergency Relief Centre open at Gippsland Regional Sports Complex in Sale or Lucknow Oval on Great Alpine Rd.

Emergency services have also warned that residents who choose to stay may not be able to receive any help.

An emergency “take shelter now” warning is in place for Loch Sport and Seacombe, with residents in the area being told that for them, it’s too late to leave.

“You are in danger and need to act immediately to survive. The safest option is to take shelter indoors immediately,” Vic Emergency’s website reads.

“It is too late to leave. Leaving now would be deadly.”

“You must take shelter before the fire arrives. The extreme heat is likely to kill you well before the flames reach you,” authorities warned.

“As soon as the bushfire has passed the house, or conditions inside become unbearable, you need to get out and go to an area that has already been burnt. Staying inside a burning building will almost certainly end in death.”

Electricity has been cut from the town with nearly 2,000 properties without power. The outage is not expected to be resolved until 5pm, per news.com.au, and the only road into Loch Sport is now closed.

At the same time, other areas of Victoria have been urged to prepare for flooding — if that’s not a symbol of what’s to come in this climate-change fuelled bushfire season, I don’t know what is.

Keep up to date with Victoria emergency warnings here.

Image: James Brickwood / Nine