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Firefighters brace for another day of horror as bushfire crisis hits Sydney and raging infernos burn across NSW

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 05/12/2019 00:10:00 Claudia Poposki For Daily Mail Australia and Australian Associated Press

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Firefighters are bracing for another day of horror conditions in New South Wales amid fears two giant blazes could combine.  

The NSW Rural Fire service has issued widespread total fire bans for Thursday, with hot and windy conditions expected to worsen across the state.

a train on a track with smoke coming out of it: Firefighters are bracing for another day of horror in New South Wales as the threat of two giant blazes combining looms. Wisemans Ferry fire pictured

Firefighters are bracing for another day of horror in New South Wales as the threat of two giant blazes combining looms. Wisemans Ferry fire pictured
© Provided by Daily Mail

An RFS spokesman said on Wednesday there were reports of property damage in the 6,000-hectare Three Mile blaze, near Wisemans Ferry, north-west of Sydney, but they could not confirm what it was or the extent of it.

It is understood at least one home was lost in the blaze.  An emergency alert was issued for the nearby Gospers Mountain blaze on Wednesday afternoon.

Wildlife that survived the bushfire in Wollemi National Park in Sydney graze for food. © AAP Image/Jeremy PiperWildlife that survived the bushfire in Wollemi National Park in Sydney graze for food. The Gospers Mountain fire has burnt through more than 230,000 hectares in the Wollemi National Park.

The RFS spokesman said there was a chance the two fires could merge as conditions deteriorated on Thursday.

"It's a possibility, we've already seen a large number of fires merging this fire season," he said.

"Conditions are so dry that putting fires out is very challenging at the moment. We are just trying to establish containment lines."

Emergency warnings were also put in place for fires near Putty and Paterson.

What is the bushfire situation in Queensland?

A section of the Gore Highway, south-west of Millmerran has been closed because of a raging bushfire which is forcing people to leave their homes.

Residents in the rural Queensland towns of Forrest Ridge, - between Toowoomba and Goondiwindi - have been told to seek shelter.

In nearby Cypress Gardens, locals are being told to leave immediately.

A bushfire is fast approaching properties forcing firefighters to urge residents to leave and head northeast to the town of Millmerran.

However, the highway between the BP service station at Captains Mountain through to Cypress Garden is closed to all traffic.

An alert, issued by the Queensland Rural Fire Service, states the fire is expected to have a significant impact on the community.

As of 4.10 pm, there were 22 fire crews attempting to control the blaze, with another two heading to the scene.

An evacuation centre has been opened at Millmerran Community Cultural Centre, 42 Walpole Street, Millmerran.

In Carneys Creek, west of the Millmerran fire, people are being told to get ready to leave.

A large slow-moving blaze there is travelling in a north-westerly direction from Mount Barney National Park towards Carneys Creek Road and Hardcastle Road.

Crews on the ground are being assisted by water-bombing aircraft to tackle that fire.

What is the bushfire situation in NSW?

a train on a track with smoke coming out of it: An RFS spokesman on Wednesday evening said there were reports of property damage in the 6,000-hectare Three Mile blaze near Wisemans Ferry. Wisemans Ferry fire pictured © Provided by Daily MailAn RFS spokesman on Wednesday evening said there were reports of property damage in the 6,000-hectare Three Mile blaze near Wisemans Ferry. Wisemans Ferry fire pictured Strong westerly winds forecast for Thursday could push those three fires further east, putting more NSW properties at threat.

"We are asking people in the vicinity of these fires to have a plan and to know what they will do if that happens," an RFS spokesman said.

The RFS spokesman said bushfire smoke is expected to linger in the Sydney basin until the weekend, as winds push the haze from large fires near Warragamba Dam. 

Emergency warnings were in place on Wednesday evening for the Gospers Mountain fire as well as fires near Putty and Paterson. Wisemans Ferry fire pictured © Provided by Daily MailEmergency warnings were in place on Wednesday evening for the Gospers Mountain fire as well as fires near Putty and Paterson. Wisemans Ferry fire pictured  "Smoke is also affecting areas including the north coast, Hawkesbury, Wollondilly, Queanbeyan and Shoalhaven areas," the spokesman said.

Lingering smoke could be "unhealthy for sensitive people, and could cause symptoms, especially in people with heart or lung disease", the state's environment department said.

Air quality levels were again hazardous in parts of Sydney on Wednesday.

smoke coming from it: Lingering smoke could be 'unhealthy for sensitive people, and could cause symptoms, especially in people with heart or lung disease', the state's environment department said. Gospers Mountain Fire pictured

Lingering smoke could be 'unhealthy for sensitive people, and could cause symptoms, especially in people with heart or lung disease', the state's environment department said. Gospers Mountain Fire pictured
© Provided by Daily Mail

The NSW Department of Environment data said the city's air quality is three times worse than it has ever been in the last five years, according to Nine News.

One concerning pollutant - PM2.5 - can enter a person's lungs and bloodstream and cause asthma, heart attacks and lung cancer.  

This means Sydney's air toxicity has increased to the equivalent of smoking ten cigarettes a day - up from half a cigarette.

On Tuesday, it was the equivalent of smoking 30 cigarettes a day.

People are also being warned about the potential for power outages across the state. 

Firefighters have forecast an elevated fire risk for Thursday, with severe fire danger ratings stretching along the coastline from the greater Hunter region to the NSW far south coast.

Severe fire danger ratings are also in place for the Monaro region as well as the central and southern ranges.

There were more than 130 fires burning across the state on Wednesday evening, with 80 of those fires uncontained. There were more than 2,500 firefighters in the field. Wisemans Ferry fire pictured © Provided by Daily MailThere were more than 130 fires burning across the state on Wednesday evening, with 80 of those fires uncontained. There were more than 2,500 firefighters in the field. Wisemans Ferry fire pictured Total fire bans are in place for all of these areas plus the northern slopes and northwestern regions.

There were more than 130 fires burning across the state on Wednesday evening, with 80 of those fires uncontained. There were more than 2,500 firefighters in the field.

Firefighters worked through Tuesday night to protect houses from the 47,000-hectare Currowan blaze north of Batemans Bay on the South Coast.

"There is still a significant threat to life and property at Currowan," an RFS spokesman said on Wednesday evening.

"It's a very large fire spreading to the coast."

Concerns over air quality

Sydney air quality © Nine NewsSydney air quality A Sydney doctor has raised concerns about the health impact of awful air pollution as more than 100 bushfires burning across NSW cause "the longest and most widespread" period of poor air quality on record.

Northwestern Sydney GP Kim Loo, who works in Riverstone, said she's already dealing with the health impacts of bad air quality.

"I've had patients come in with nasal symptoms, sinus symptoms and sore throats," she told AAP on Wednesday.

"I've had a few patients coming in on bad air quality days just from breathing in the high levels of pollution.":

Heavy bushfire smoke is currently smothering Sydney and other parts of NSW - and it's forecast to linger into the weekend. Conditions have been "hazardous".

a view of a city at sunset: Smoke made for a menacing sunrise over Sydney this morning. (AAP: Dylan Coker) © Australian Broadcasting CorporationSmoke made for a menacing sunrise over Sydney this morning. (AAP: Dylan Coker) The NSW Environment Department says this season's bushfire emergency has caused "some of the highest air pollution ever seen in NSW".

"NSW has experienced other periods of poor air quality that lasted several weeks, including the 1994 Sydney bushfires and the Black Christmas bushfires of December 2001 to January 2002," a spokesman said in a statement.

"This event, however, is the longest and the most widespread in our records."

The NSW Rural Fire Service on Wednesday said the "heavy smoke" would be noticeable in Sydney for several days.

Air quality was hazardous for large past of eastern and southwestern Sydney on Wednesday evening, as well as parts of the lower Hunter and Central Coast.

Dr Loo compared the impacts of breathing in the polluted air to "smoking without consent".

"With fine particulate matter, you are kind of smoking without consent, you have no choice about the quality of the air you breathe," she said, adding the combined impact of air pollution and heat over summer would be "awful".

"Pollution is like a big soup of different particles. The problem is they are toxic particles," she said.

The GP said regular air pollution from cars and coal-fired power stations is mixing with smoke from the fires.

Sydney commuters attempt to block hazardous smoke sweeping through the city. © AAP Image/Bianca De MarchiSydney commuters attempt to block hazardous smoke sweeping through the city. Face masks are considered ineffective as they fail to filter out smoke particles.

Dr Loo, who is a member of Doctors for the Environment Australia, said the country's health system was not prepared for the health impacts of climate change such as complications caused by rising temperatures and poor air quality.

"The health sector is going to bear the brunt of the cost," Dr Loo said.

"Climate change will have a great impact on our health. These fires could be our new normal."

5. joulukuuta 2019 2:10:00 Categories: Daily Mail Ilta Sanoma Kotimaa

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