Firefighters in Victoria are battling tough conditions, while their colleagues in New South Wales have been granted a reprieve, with predicted wind changes failing to eventuate.
- The Erskine Creek fire was burning out of control in the Blue Mountains
- A forecast southerly change was expected to push the fire towards Leura and Wentworth Falls
- A “mega-blaze” also formed in the Snowy Mountains area
In New South Wales, erratic fire conditions had been predicted well into the night, however a blaze in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, was deteriorating at 5:00am AEDT.
The Erskine Creek fire was burning out of control to the south of Wentworth Falls, but a forecast southerly change that was predicted to hit between midnight and 3:00am (local time) did not eventuate across the fireground, which eased fire activity.
NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) said crews would work to strengthen containment lines and use more favourable conditions to undertake back burning.
The change had been expected to push the fire towards Leura and Wentworth Falls, with residents told to make final preparations to protect their properties.
Elsewhere, a “mega-blaze” formed around 9:00pm as severe weather conditions fanned fires in the Snowy Mountains area.
At 5:00am, there were four watch and act alerts in NSW, with the Erskine Creek fire downgraded to advice in the Southern Highlands area near Bundanoon.
Earlier, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) in NSW said forecasters were seeing an “increase in bushfire risk as the strong southerly change continues to make its way north through the night”.
“The gusty winds may make local fire behaviour erratic as they hit the different blazes.”
In the East Gippsland and Alpine communities, Victorian firefighters were facing strong, gusty and unpredictable winds as the weather change moved through.
It had been a nervous wait for people in Victoria’s Alpine towns but conditions looked to be easing overnight as the BOM cancelled its severe wind warning alert.
At 5:00am in Victoria, there was one emergency warning in the state’s east and 16 fires at watch and act level, and communities were urged to stay vigilant.
Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday extended the state of disaster for two days and authorities urged people in the declared disaster zones to leave the area.
The state of disaster covers East Gippsland, the Alpine region and the state’s north-east.
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