SYDNEY: Dozens of bush fires erupted in Australia yesterday with six firefighters injured battling fierce infernos in western Sydney that destroyed two homes and which officials said could signal a difficult summer.
Some 60 fires flared in the country’s most populous state of New South Wales, aided by temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius and gusting winds, with water-bombing helicopters being used to tackle the danger.
“Currently 40 fires burning in NSW not contained. Fire behaviour very erratic. People need to keep monitoring situation rapidly changing,” tweeted NSW Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers.
Several blazes on Sydney’s western fringes prompted emergency warnings in the early afternoon with news footage showing black smoke billowing over homes and at least three vehicles going up in flames.
“It’s scary... knowing it could go any minute now is making me really emotional,” Melinda Millard said as she rushed to a property in the Sydney suburb of Castlereagh to help rescue some horses from one of the biggest blazes.
A cool change late yesterday brought some relief, allowing officials to downgrade all but one of the four emergency warning areas, with a fire at Winmalee at the base of the Blue Mountains of most concern.
But by then one home had been destroyed at Winmalee and another at Marsden Park and several firefighters injured.
“Six have suffered smoke inhalation. One taken to hospital for observation,” the NSW Rural Fire Service said. Another firefighter was later taken to hospital after complaining of chest pains. AFP