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ACT firefighters deploy as NSW declares state of emergency

Michael Weaver 11 November 2019 8
ACT Emergency Services Agency

The ACT Emergency Services Agency has deployed additional support to NSW Rural Fire Service (NSWRFS) for the continuing bushfire threats in the Port Macquarie region. Photo: ESA.

Another 12 firefighters from the ACT Emergency Services Agency have deployed to assist the ongoing efforts to battle bushfires in the Port Macquarie region of NSW.

The firefighters from the ACT Rural Fire Service left Canberra today (11 November) in a fleet of six medium-sized tankers travelling to Wauchope on the mid-north coast of NSW.

The vehicles will be used by 16 volunteer firefighters who will be working in support of NSW Rural Fire Service firefighting in the Port Macquarie area.

The initial 16 firefighters, also from the ACT Rural Fire Service, flew from Canberra Airport on Friday.

The ACT crews travelled to Port Macquarie with the support of the Australian Defence Force and Emergency Management Australia.

“In this time of need, the ACT will continue to support our NSW colleagues as they battle bushfires across the state,” an Emergency Services Agency spokesperson said.

“This deployment will not impact on the level of fire protection to Canberra and the surrounding regions.

“We wish our departing crews safe travels and thank them for their commitment and support.”

Crews will undertake firefighting operations before returning home on Wednesday.

The deployment comes as ACT Emergency Services Agency Commissioner Georgeina Whelan declared a total fire ban for the whole of the ACT.

“The forecast fire danger rating for tomorrow is predicted to be very high. This means if a fire starts it may be uncontrollable and move quickly,” Ms Whelan.

Residents in bushfire prone areas are urged to review their bushfire survival plan, or if you don’t have a plan in place, to take the time to create one.

A statewide total fire ban is also in place in New South Wales.

In the region, a fire weather warning has been issued for the southern Riverina area on Monday.

Damaging winds, averaging 60 to 70 km/h with peak gusts in excess of 90 km/h, are possible over the Snowy Mountains district, Illawarra districts, eastern parts of the Southern Tablelands district, parts of the South Coast district and southern parts of the ACT.

Locally, locations that may be affected include Bowral, Braidwood, Goulburn, Cooma, Thredbo and Bombala.

In NSW, a total fire ban is also in place for the entire state, while a state of emergency will remain in place for seven days.

The NSW Rural Fire Service today upgraded its forecast of a catastrophic fire danger for the greater Sydney and greater Hunter areas to also include the Illawarra and Shoalhaven region.

Large areas will see severe and extreme fire danger as warm and dry conditions, with strong northwesterly winds, generate elevated fire dangers.

NSW Rural Fire Service alert

The NSW Rural Fire Service alert for Tuesday. Photo: Twitter.

The Googong Foreshore will also be closed.

It is the first time the Sydney region has been rated at that level since the new fire danger ratings were introduced in 2009.

The fire danger for the Far South Coast of NSW has been rated as ‘severe’.

Devastating fires raged through the state on Friday and Saturday, destroying more than 150 homes and killing three people in conditions described as “apocalyptic”.

RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said 1300 firefighters from across Australia and New Zealand were in contact with colleagues from Canada and the US for possible help in light of Tuesday’s predicted forecast.

You can monitor the fire and weather situation through your local radio station, the NSW Rural Fire Service website or the Bureau of Meteorology.


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