NSW bushfires out of control

NSW bushfires out of control

7 February 2009

published by www.news.com.au

Australia — Arson is suspected as the cause of three bushfires in NSW Hunter region that are consuming terrain at an alarming rate.

It comes as at least 35 bushfires across NSW are burning out of control or have been contained and are being monitored.

Fire investigators are on scene at Woolemi National Park in the Singleton area of the Hunter Valley to determine the cause of the fires.

More than 1,000ha of countryside have burned since Friday night as the fires joined as one and are moving rapidly under hot and windy summer conditions.

Temperatures will climb above 40 degrees across NSW and in Sydney’s west on Saturday and Sunday until a southerly change arrives late on Sunday evening to cool things down.

The fire is burning out of control approximately 25km northwest of Putty and 44km south of Denman.

No property has come under threat but the fire is producing large amounts of smoke, prompting the Rural Fire Service (RFS) to warn nearby residents.

“It’s moving very quickly and it’s putting up a lot of smoke,” RFS spokeswoman Rebel Talbert told AAP.

At least 40 firefighters are battling the blaze with the assistance of two water-bombing aircraft.

Residents are recommended to take precautions and take care while driving in the area.

Ms Talbert said the three fires started on Friday evening and investigators suspect they were deliberately lit.

“The fire has been declared a Section 44 emergency and they are on scene to determine the cause,” she said.

Fire crews are keeping a eye on three fires in the Tumut area, about 90km west of Canberra, which have torched a total 500ha of bushland but have been contained.

A fire which destroyed more than 1,100ha near Wyndham, in the southeast corner of NSW, is still burning out of control.

More than 60 firefighters are battling a blaze in Wybong, northwest of Newcastle, that has already burned about 140ha, threatened homes at one point and destroyed a car.

Smoke from a fire that has destroyed more than 180ha near Lake Macquarie, on the NSW Central Coast, has drifted into Sydney.

The fire started near Catherine Hill Bay on Friday afternoon and is expected to double in size before firefighters contain the blaze.

A total fire ban is in place for the Sydney area and most of NSW except for the northeast area of the state.

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