Monday, 23 July, 2018

Australia bushfire threatens Sydney suburbs homes

Huge smoke clouds rise above homes in Moorebank. Source Instagram  msclaire76 Huge smoke clouds rise above homes in Moorebank. Source Instagram msclaire76
Freda Brock | 16 April, 2018, 09:36

A bushfire that has burned nearly 1,000 hectares in Sydney's south-west remains out of control but has been downgraded as conditions ease and crews begin back-burning operations.

The bushfire was downgraded to "watch and act" yesterday evening, replacing the emergency warning put in place, and this morning was further downgraded to "advice" level.

The NSW RFS has reduced the threat level to "Advice" as fire crews continue to battle the blaze.

The fire has burned almost 2,500 hectares of land, the RFS said.

Many property owners stayed to protect their homes from spot fires - luckily no homes or lives were lost.

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.

Passengers on a suburban train have filmed dramatic scenes as the railway took them through the burning countryside, surrounded by thick smoke and flying embers.

More than 70 fire appliances were stationed along roads dividing bushland from homes while helicopters were dumping water on the fire from above, SBS reported.

RFS spokesman Greg Allan said some properties had not escaped unscathed.

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Residents in the suburbs of Voyager Point, Pleasure Point, Sandy Point and Illawong, Menai and Bangor were warned of the danger of ember attacks as many scrambled with hoses and buckets to protect their houses.

New South Wales state police are investigating the cause of the bushfire in southwestern Sydney, which started on Saturday afternoon amid unseasonably warm autumn weather and strong winds, with suspicions it was deliberately lit.

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

Conditions had improved on Monday as winds eased, with firefighters working to slow the spread of the flames.

NSW RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said two giant aircraft, the DC10 Nancybird and the C130 Hercules "Thor" - normally used for aerial water bombing - were not available to help fight the Sydney fire.

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

"I think it's fair to say that it is highly suspicious, in the absence of any other cause like lightning", 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.

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