Australia on high bushfire risk prompting the closure of some schools
Hot temperatures continue to sweep across parts of southeast Australia, delivering high bushfire risk and prompting the closure of some schools.
A total fire ban has been declared for the NSW south coast and Greater Sydney region on Tuesday, when temperatures are forecast to reach 33C.
Angus Hines from the Bureau of Meteorology said Wednesday would be hotter, with 34C, and that parts of South Australia and Queensland would also feel the heat.
‘Most of Australia is sitting at moderate or high fire (danger) for the next few days,’ he said.
A bushfire threat looms as heatwave conditions grip much of the eastern seaboard
‘The south coast of NSW has a small area of extreme fire danger there, overlapping with the heatwave conditions on Tuesday.’
It’s the first total fire ban for Greater Sydney since late November 2020, NSW Rural Fire Service spokesman Ben Shepherd said.
‘Looks like a couple of hot, dry and windy days on the way,’ he said.
Heatwave warnings are in place for Sydney, parts of the Hunter and the south coast.
The NSW Education Department listed 20 schools that will be closed across the state’s south coast on Tuesday.
‘Schools with elevated bushfire risk will be temporarily closed … due to extreme fire danger ratings being declared,’ a statement read.
The fire ban and school closures apply across areas including the Bega Valley and Eurobodalla Shire.
People needed to be prepared, RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers said.
‘It’s the worst risk we’ve faced since the Black Summer fires of 2019,’ he noted.
The heat is expected to shift north later in the week into parts of Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia, driving maximums to 40C.
A severe wind warning is in place for Tuesday in parts of the NSW Snowy Mountains and south west slopes, with winds expected to become more damaging and widespread across the state on Wednesday ahead of a cold front.
Mr Hines said the winds had emergency services on alert.
‘On Wednesday we’re going to see some warm windy weather around Sydney and the Hunter, with extreme fire danger forecast in those regions.’
By Thursday the high to extreme fire dangers will be more widespread, including a large part of the Channel Country in Queensland.
Fire crews have been busy in the NSW Hunter and southeastern parts of Queensland, with a fire burning at Beerwah on the Sunshine Coast shifting between advice and watch-and-act for days.