RFS commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons has given an update on the bushfires, saying no real breakout of fires yet, but “starting to stir up a little in terms of activity” as winds start to pick up to 80km/h in the blue mountains.
Water bombing has been postponed due to high winds.
Temperatures are increasing with Fitzsimmons urging people to “remain Vigilant, the worst is still to come”.
The Insurance Council of Australia says 943 claims have been received from people affected by the bushfires. The damage bill is estimated at more than $113 million, with that figure set to rise.
All northbound lanes of the M1 (F3) have closed as the fire burns west of the freeway towards Minmi.
Firefighters are braced for another terrifying day in the Blue Mountains.
Hotter, dryer conditions are expected with winds reaching up to 100 km per hour. Minimal rain fell overnight and failed to make any impact on the fires.
Fifty-nine fires continue to burn across NSW, with 18 uncontained as the crisis enters its seventh day. Residents in the Blue Mountains have been urged to evacuate before lunch.
Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said the crisis is far from over.
“We can’t afford to think today will be okay,” he said, “There is very real potential for new fires to start, take hold and spread quickly.”
Four watch and act alerts are in place for fires at Lithgow, Springwood, Mt Victoria and Balmoral, with fears that multiple blazes could threaten to combine and form a “mega fire,” in what would be a worst case scenario.
All schools in the Blue Mountains are closed today with HSC students allowed to take exams at any high school. They have, however, been urged to lodge a misadventure application if they can’t get to another school. – Luke Mahoney