A total fire ban is in place across parts of New South Wales today as temperatures are expected to hit 40 degrees Celsius in the state’s west.
- Temperatures to reach 37C in Sydney and low 40s in the state’s west
- Total fire ban declared across four regions, from the Illawarra/Shoalhaven to the Hunter Valley
- Open fires, solid fuel barbecues, welders and grinders should not be used
The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) has warned the combination of high temperatures and strong winds — gusting up to 60 kilometres per hour in some parts — could see fires break out quickly and easily.
“We’re seeing temperatures in the high 30s and that is the first real heatwave of this season and probably one of the first … dangerous days… [with] all of the conditions coming together,” Inspector Ben Shepherd said.
“Under these types of conditions fires can be erratic, they can move very, very quickly.”
Total fire bans will stretch from the Illawarra/Shoalhaven and Southern Ranges in the south, up through Sydney and the Hunter Valley in the north.
The fire danger rating across most of the state is very high and is classed as severe in the Illawarra/Shoalhaven region, where the Bureau of Meteorology has issued a fire weather warning.
Meteorologist Ashleigh Lange said hot, dry and windy conditions ahead of an approaching cold front were expected to elevate the fire danger.
A severe weather warning has also been issued for damaging winds for part of the Southwest slopes, Snowy Mountains and ACT.
The hottest parts of the state will be in the west, where temperatures are expected to reach the high 30s and low 40s.
Sydney will reach a maximum of 37 degrees on Friday and remain high overnight, with temperatures expected to reach 30 degrees on Saturday.
“It is expected to be a warm and stuffy night tonight, with the minimum temperature forecast to be 23 [degrees],” Ms Lange said.
“[On] Sunday we should receive some relief, with a minimum temperature of 17 degrees in Sydney.”
‘We don’t need people being reckless’
As part of the total fire ban, solid fuel barbecues are prohibited, while welders and grinders should not be used outside.
Inspector Shepherd said gas and electric barbecues were allowed on residential properties or in designated areas in parks.
“What we don’t need under these kinds of weather conditions is people being reckless and actually starting fires outside, because we will see them expand and expend rapidly and that’s when we have the potential to see things like homes being impacted and roads being cut,” he said.
He urged residents to prepare their properties and have a bushfire plan in place.
“A well-prepared home that is actively defended may provide some safety during a fire event.”
Strong winds fuelled a number of bushfires during August and September, with RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers blaming the drought for unseasonable fire events.