Tough Day Ahead For Firies As Heatwave Reaches NSW
As conditions on firegrounds across NSW eased on Monday evening firefighters began desperately working on containment lines before the state is expected to roast in a heatwave.
Daytime temperatures in NSW and the ACT are expected to exceed 40C from Tuesday through to Saturday, while in the western half of the state the mercury is set to soar over 45C.
The heatwave conditions are expected to bring an elevated fire risk across the state, the Bureau of Meteorology and NSW Health said.
At 4 am on Tuesday there were 115 firegrounds across the state, 59 of which were uncontained -- none were burning at an emergency level.
"Firefighers have been working hard overnight protecting homes and backburning to deepen containment lines, ahead of increasing fire dangers," the Rural Fire Service tweeted.
A bushfire burning at Gospers Mountain, northwest of Sydney, was downgraded to a "watch and act" again on Monday evening after up to 20 buildings were feared destroyed when firefighters lost control of a backburn on Sunday.
Total fire bans are in place on Tuesday for the northwestern and northern regions where the fire danger rating will be "very high".
Along with six adjoining blazes the bushfire has been dubbed a "mega-blaze" and has burned through more than half a million hectares.
The Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre warned that NSW is facing a long and challenging fire season ahead after its unprecedented start.
With 2019 registering the second-hottest and driest January-to-November period for Australia, the centre warned the combination of severely dry conditions, high temperatures and low humidity was behind the dangerous fire season.
The entire eastern third of NSW is facing an above-normal fire potential into 2020.
Meanwhile, in Queensland, two communities south of Bundaberg are at risk as another fire rages to the city's north.
Residents in the regional Queensland community of Mount Maria, about 75 kilometres north of Bundaberg, were told to leave their homes as a bushfire approached.
The Leave Now warning was also issued for Gregory River (north of Childers), and a watch and act for Promisedland overnight.