New South Wales Issues 'Catastrophic' Warning as Fires Grow to Unprecedented Size

The New South Wales coast is on high alert this week as fire danger hits levels not seen since the Black Saturday fires in the southern state of Victoria took 179 lives and hundreds of homes in February of 2009.

Aerial assets continued to fight upwards of sixty large scale fires all along the NSW central and mid north coast this week that are rated by the New South Wales fire Service as “uncontained.”

The Australian Air Force stepped in to offer assistance during the wildfire emergency, using a 737 to bring in additional ground firefighting assets from surrounding states to back up the already stretched assets from the NSW Rural Fire Service.

Thus far, the fires have consumed over 150 homes and structures in some of the hardest hit areas, although thanks to early warning systems, only three lives have been confirmed lost so far in the worst fire outbreak in NSW history.

In an unprecedented move by the NSW government, over 500 schools have been closed as a preventative measure, keeping a majority of students at home with their families if fire should threaten their homes.

This is the first time since 2013 that the state has declared a state of emergency, when major bushfires swept the state.

The NSWRFS stated that catastrophic conditions were expected in Greater Sydney and the Greater Hunter Valley region on Tuesday, and further extended the warning to the Illawarra and Shoalhaven areas.

A first for the greater Sydney city area, Blue Mountains, and Central Coast, as the areas face a catastrophic warning for the first time in the ten years that fire danger warnings have existed.

Hot and windy conditions are expected to cause many more issues as, temperatures rise into the high 90’s for the rest of the week. New South Wales Police Minister David Elliot stated to the media that the forecast conditions could potentially lead to “the most dangerous bushfire week this nation has ever seen.”

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