Sydney Hosts Massive Fireworks Display While NSW Fights Bushfire Crisis
A 20-minute fireworks display was allowed to go ahead in Sydney, despite a total fire ban in place and bushfires raging across NSW.
The fireworks went off near Sydney Opera House on Wednesday night, sparking outrage over the timing as the state endured one of the worst bushfire weeks in recent history.
While the colourful display kicked off, parts of NSW were still trying to fight bushfire emergencies. At the time of the fireworks, three people had been killed as a result of the fires at least 200 homes had been lost.
On Thursday morning the number of homes severely damaged or destroyed climbed to 300 and tragically, a fourth person was confirmed dead.
More than 1000 firefighters are still working across the state to manage 69 fires, 14 of which are at 'watch and act' level.
Many Sydneysiders were outraged that the fireworks went ahead despite the deadly situation in the state's north.
Some recorded their feelings of disbelief and anger, calling the display 'so wrong' and a 'slap in the face' on social media.
Despite the outrage, the fireworks went ahead legally. There are a number standing exemptions from the NSW RFS when a total fire ban is declared.
"A range of activities may be exempt from Total Fire Bans, such as emergency infrastructure work, beehive smokers, mining operations, sugar cane harvesting, use of fireworks or ceremonial fires," the NSW RFS website states.
A NSW RFS spokesperson told 10 daily it's likely the NSW Government applied to the NSW RFS Commissioner for an exemption to proceed with the fireworks.
NSW Government SafeWork, which is responsible for scheduling the fireworks display, has been contacted for comment.
A fire ban has been in place across NSW since Monday, one is also in place in Queensland. Bans are usually announced at 4pm the night before it comes into effect.
Five people have been charged with breaching the fire bans since Tuesday.
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