Sydney set to swelter as total fire ban declared across NSW

Sydney set to swelter as total fire ban declared across NSW

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February 12, 2019 08:10:30

A total fire ban is in place across New South Wales today, with strong winds, low humidity and temperatures in some parts expected to hit 40 degrees Celsius.

Key points:

  • Winds of up to 95kph are expected in the state’s southern ranges
  • Temperatures of 37C are expected across most of Sydney, reaching up to 38C in Penrith
  • Firefighters say a cool change was only expected to sweep through in the late afternoon

It is the first statewide total fire ban for 2019.

Conditions will be worst in the Hunter region, where the fire danger rating is extreme, while nine other regions across the state — including the Greater Sydney region, north coast, central and southern ranges — are expecting severe conditions.

NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said conditions across the state were considered high-risk.

“People need to be vigilant, the risk is very real,” he said.

“We’ve been very fortunate not to have winds over the last couple of months but we’ve certainly got a pretty significant day of wind … people need to be vigilant.”

He urged residents across the state to prepare their properties, and have a clear plan in place should fire threaten.

Winds up to 95kph are expected through the southern ranges, while the central ranges can expect winds of up to 75kph.

The Hunter region is expect gusts of up to 60kph, but temperatures are forecast to reach 39C in Maitland, Muswelbrook and Gloucester, while Singleton is expected to peak at 40C.

Humidity in the Hunter region is also expected to be below 10 per cent.

The RFS released a fire danger map showing much of the state was rated as severe fire danger (orange), with the Greater Hunter region rated extreme (red).

The remaining regions were rated as high (blue) or very high (yellow) fire danger.

The NSW Rural Fire Service will deploy extra units to areas of higher fire danger throughout the day.

Commissioner Fitzsimmons said a cool change was expected to start moving through late in the afternoon but would not hit the south-west corner of the state until about 4:00pm.

The temperatures forecast around the greater Sydney region are unusually uniform — with Sydney’s CBD expecting 37C and Penrith’s maximum tipped to reach 38C.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Katarina Kovacevic said this was due to westerly winds passing through the basin.

The winds also mean there was the possibility of raised dust, either from being transferred from rural areas or from local construction sites, she added.

But unlike the recent heatwaves Sydney has endured, the hot temperatures were only expected to last for one day.

“After midnight, we’ll see a fresh and gusty southerly change move through the basin,” Ms Kovacevic said.

“That will mean markedly cooler temperatures for Wednesday.”







First posted

February 12, 2019 05:04:56

stories from New South Wales

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