Australia faces high risk of bushfires, leading to closure of some schools
Hot temperatures continue to sweep parts of southeastern Australia, bringing a high risk of bushfires and prompting the closure of some schools.
A total fire ban was declared for the NSW south coast and Greater Sydney region on Tuesday, with temperatures expected to reach 33C.
Angus Hines from the Bureau of Meteorology said Wednesday would be warmer, with 34C, and parts of South Australia and Queensland would also feel the heat.
“Most of Australia faces moderate or high fire danger for the next few days,” he said.
A bushfire threat looms as heatwave conditions grip much of the east coast.
“The NSW south coast has a small area of extreme fire risk, overlapping with Tuesday’s heatwave conditions.”
This is the first total fire ban in Greater Sydney since late November 2020, NSW Rural Fire Service spokesperson Ben Shepherd said.
“It looks like we’ll have a few hot, dry and windy days,” he said.
Heatwave warnings are in place for Sydney, parts of the Hunter and the south coast.
The NSW Department of Education on Tuesday listed 20 schools that will be closed on the state’s south coast.
“Schools at high bushfire risk will be temporarily closed … due to the declaration of extreme fire risk,” a statement said.
Fire bans and school closures apply in areas such as the Bega Valley and Eurobodalla Shire.
People needed to be prepared, RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers said.
“This is the worst risk we have faced since the fires of the Black Summer of 2019,” he noted.
Heat is expected to move north later in the week across parts of Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia, bringing maximum temperatures to 40C.
A high wind warning is in place for Tuesday in parts of NSW’s Snowy Mountains and south-western slopes, with winds expected to become more destructive and widespread across the state on Wednesday ahead of a cold front.
Mr Hines said the winds had put emergency services on alert.
“On Wednesday we will see hot and windy weather around Sydney and the Hunter, with an extreme fire risk expected in these areas.”
By Thursday, high to extreme fire dangers will be more widespread, including across much of Queensland’s Channel Region.
Fire crews have been busy across the NSW Hunter region and southeast Queensland, with a fire burning at Beerwah on the Sunshine Coast vacillating between advice and watch and action for days.