State of emergency declared for NSW
NSW has declared a state of emergency for seven days starting immediately as bushfires rage across the state.
Emergency Services Minister David Elliott warned residents were facing what “could be the most dangerous bushfire week this nation has ever seen”.
The NSW fires have claimed three lives and so far destroyed more than 150 homes.
NSW Premier @GladysB has declared a state of emergency due to dangerous fire risk and forecast conditions. The state of emergency will remain in place for seven days. #nswrfs #nswfires pic.twitter.com/KxReFn9pGP
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the last time a state of emergency was declared in the state was 2013 when there were extensive bushfires in the Blue Mountains.
Ms Berejiklian warned people to “for heaven’s sake, stay away from bushland” on Tuesday.
“The catastrophic weather conditions mean that things can change very quickly,” she told reporters on Monday.
“You might think you’re OK and a few minutes later you won’t be. Please heed all the messages you receive. Tomorrow (Tuesday) is not the day to be complacent.”
Mr Elliott said the state of emergency was precautionary but necessary.
“We have tools like state of emergency available to us to ensure there is no legal barrier, there are no operational barriers, to ensure that the people of the Rural Fire Service (can) do what they’re meant to do,” the minister said.
There are currently 60 fires burning across NSW with more than half uncontained.
“Catastrophic is off the conventional scale,” RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.
“We are talking about indices that go well beyond the old scale of 100.”
The blazes are raging from the northern border with Queensland down to the mid-north coast, out to the state’s central west and south toward the Illawarra.
Catastrophic fire danger has been declared for the Sydney and Hunter regions on Tuesday with severe and extreme danger across vast tracts of the rest of the state.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has slammed “raving inner-city lunatics” for talking about climate change when hundreds of families’ homes in NSW and Queensland are in peril from bushfires.
Accusing environmentalists and the Greens of “disgraceful, disgusting” behaviour, Mr McCormack said he was sick and tired of people like the Greens MP Adam Bandt sitting around in apartments in Melbourne preaching climate change and calling for the coal industry to be shut down.
“Now is the time to put fires out,” he said. “We have a situation that could prove catastrophic,” he told ABC radio.
“What people need now is a little bit of sympathy, understanding and real assistance, they need help, they need shelter. They don’t need the ravings of some pure, enlightened and woke capital city greenies at this time when they’re trying to save their homes. It is disgusting and I will call it out every time.”
He said the Morrison government was trying to take sensible action on climate change without shutting down industries.
“At the same time, we are not going to shut down an industry, say coal, [that provides] 54,000 direct jobs,” he said.
“It’s not about cheap political point-scoring. Not the ravings of some greenie in his apartment in Melbourne, crying out how bad coal is.”
But he warned he would not cop the Prime Minister being blamed by the Greens for the loss of homes and lives in bushfires.
“What really galled me is that he blamed Scott Morrison and the government for the loss of those lives,” he said.
“We’ve had fires in Australia since time began.”
I have deliberately kept away from this subject up until now. The hysteria from commentators blaming these fires on climate change has been way over the top. These fires have been a part of the landscape since long before humans were even here..