Here’s what you need to know this morning.
‘Dinosaur trees’ saved
An ancient, and rare, species of tree has been saved from NSW’s bushfires by a specialist team of firefighters.
The exact location of the last remaining cluster of Wollemi Pines — which pre-date the dinosaurs — remains a secret closely guarded by authorities desperate to protect them.
The operation included large air tankers dropping fire retardant around the trees, and specialist firefighters being winched into the remote site to set up an irrigation system.
“Wollemi National Park is the only place in the world where these trees are found in the wild and, with less than 200 left, we knew we needed to do everything we could to save them,” NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean said.
RSPCA NSW bushfire aid
The RSPCA NSW has launched a $1.3 million immediate response program for supporting animals and owners affected by the bushfires.
Aid will include assisting at evacuation centres, working with wildlife rehabilitation groups and dispatching inspectors and vets to remote regions for animal and wildlife welfare checks.
The aid is funded by the $4 million received in donations to its bushfire appeal.
The rest of the money will go to an emergency fund offering financial assistance and food, a mobile emergency response unit and a long-term wildlife program.
Rain on the way
Rain across New South Wales will offer some relief for fire crews still battling blazes but fears remain for landslides, flash flooding and contaminated water.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) expected between 30 and 80 millimetres of rain, with an average rainfall of 50mm across a four-day period.
In the Sydney Basin, about 20-40mm is expected from today until Sunday.
“This won’t be enough to extinguish the fires, but will take the sting out of them,” said NSW Rural Fire Service inspector Ben Shepherd.
Missing Malaysians appeal
NSW Police has launched a fresh appeal for information about two Malaysian nationals missing from Sydney’s south-west since December.
Lisa Hoh, 24, and Chin Leong Chan, 26, were last seen in Campsie on December 13.
Police said they had concerns for the pair’s safety and inquiries suggest they may be in the Eastwood or Ryde area.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.
Casino gaming fraud
A Star Casino gaming supervisor and a patron will face court today charged with fraud offences.
Officers from the state’s Casino and Racing Unit will allege the men used an elaborate scheme to win more than $90,000 in gaming chips.
The pair, aged 23 and 25, were charged with 13 counts of dishonesty to obtain financial advantage by deception in December 2019.
The men, who are known to each other, will appear at Downing Centre Local Court today.