Endless summer: NSW fire authorities brace for three days of sizzling heat

Sydney is set to experience its hottest day in two years with temperatures soaring to 38 degrees in the city as a heatwave bears down on NSW.

Mar 06, 2023, updated Mar 06, 2023
The threat of a new El Nino weather pattern could lead to more bushfires.  (Photo: David Mariuz/AAP PHOTOS)

The threat of a new El Nino weather pattern could lead to more bushfires. (Photo: David Mariuz/AAP PHOTOS)

Fire authorities are bracing for three days of sizzling heat with an extreme fire danger warning issued for numerous regions, while total fire bans are in force and some schools closed.

A widespread heatwave warning has been issued, with some areas expected to exceed 40 degrees Celsius.

Extremely hot and dry conditions are predicted on Monday for most of the NSW coast and the central west, with parts of the state tipped to experience severe heat until Wednesday.

The Department of Education has closed 34 schools in areas with an elevated bushfire risk across the Central Ranges, where extreme fire danger ratings have been declared.

The temperature in Sydney is predicted to hit 38 on Monday, while the Bureau of Meteorology has forecast extreme fire danger for the Greater Hunter, Central Ranges and Lower Central West Plains.

Those areas can expect hot and dry conditions combined with fresh and gusty northwesterly winds.

“Isolated high-based thunderstorms are possible during the early morning about the southern and central ranges, then developing in the afternoon across the northeastern ranges,” the BOM said.

“Little to no rainfall is expected with any thunderstorm activity.”

The NSW Rural Fire Service says the extreme fire danger stretches across much of the state.

A total fire ban has been declared for the Greater Hunter, Northern Slopes, North Western, Upper and Lower Central West Plains, Central Ranges and Southern Ranges.

A bushfire burning in the vicinity of Pyramul Creek, 40km southwest of Mudgee in the Central West, has destroyed 169 hectares and is yet to be contained.

“Crews are working with the assistance of waterbombing aircraft and heavy plant machinery to contain the fire, which is burning in rugged and largely inaccessible terrain,” the RFS said.

NSW Police State Emergency Operations Controller, Deputy Commissioner Emergency Management Peter Thurtell is urging people to refrain from taking unnecessary risks.

“During extremely hot weather, we often see an increase in tragic incidents including drownings, falls from windows or balconies, and kids, pets or vulnerable people suffering distress or injury from being left in a hot car,” he said in a statement.

“I cannot stress strongly enough how dangerous it can be to leave a child or pet unattended in a vehicle – and on a hot day, it only takes a matter of minutes to become deadly.”

Nearly 30 people drowned in NSW waterways during summer – the most recent involving an 18-year-old man at Freshwater on Sydney’s northern beaches on Saturday.

Emergency services and rescue organisations are pleading for people to think before they swim.

“At the beach, always swim between the flags and listen to the directions and advice of surf lifesavers – please do not take a risk and swim at an unpatrolled area,” Thurtell said.


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