NSW Braces For Difficult Bushfire Conditions On Saturday
Firefighters are bracing for more difficult conditions with hot temperatures and strong winds forecast for already bushfire-ravaged communities on the NSW south coast.
Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers warned conditions on Saturday could be worse than those on New Year's Eve when aggressive bushfires tore through the south coast and caused widespread destruction.
"There is every potential that the conditions on Saturday will be as bad or worse than we saw yesterday (Tuesday)," he told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.
The winds are expected to be very strong with temperatures forecast to surpass 40C, mixed with low humidity which is expected to produce a severe fire danger.
The state's southeast, the southern ranges, the Illawarra, south coast and the central ranges are expected to experience the worst of the conditions.
Authorities are also concerned about the Green Wattle Creek fire southwest of Sydney which has broken containment lines.
"Crews are working hard to get some containment before Saturday but we are concerned about that fire because of its potential run into far western Sydney," Mr Rogers said.
He urged people who are near the blazes to stay away.
"Do not be in the path of these fires," he said.
"These fires are burning extremely ferociously.
"We've unfortunately seen how deadly they are. If its going to be a bad day just be away from that area."
A cool change is expected on Saturday but not until late in the afternoon on the coast and even later in the ranges.
NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said winds are forecast to reach up to 60km/h on Saturday with stronger gusts which could cause "challenging" fire behaviour.
"The challenge down the south coast is that you've got these two winds that are going to be competing against each other on Saturday - a westerly and an easterly," he told reporters on Wednesday.
"When they converge together (they) create all sorts of different wind directions and all sorts of convergence on the fire ground which is going to increase the risk and increase the damage."
Seven people are dead amid the NSW bushfires this week while two people, aged 70 and 72, remain missing with more than 175 homes lost on the south coast.