Australian Wildfires: New South Wales in Flames With Fears of Worse to Come

Three separate fires could merge into massive blaze that will force mass evacuations

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More than 50 wildfires continued to rage across the Australian state of New South Wales on Monday evening, including at least 14 burning out of control. Firefighters battled to prevent three blazes in the Blue Mountains from combining into one “mega-fire” that could force residents in Sydney’s north-west to evacuate their homes, authorities said.

Emergency services warned that hot, dry weather and strong winds forecast for Wednesday could see the danger continue for some time. Isolated storms are predicted for the worst-hit area of the Blue Mountains on Tuesday, but meteorologists say it is unlikely that there will be enough rain to dampen the fires and that they could bring other risks like erratic winds and lightning that could spark even more conflagrations.

Live Fire Map

New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell declared a month-long state of emergency across New South Wales on Sunday to give additional powers to emergency services as they work to control the fires, which have left one man dead and destroyed hundreds of homes since Thursday.

Two boys aged 11 and 15  have been arrested over deliberately lit fires in the Hunter region, Sky News reported Monday. Police also received a handful of reports of looters targeting abandoned homes in bushfire-affected areas, Commissioner Andrew Scipione said on Monday.

Fire captain: “Ordinary people doing extraordinary things”

Photographs of Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott fighting fires with other volunteers in his local community caused a stir on social media over the weekend.

Insurance estimates stand at $90 million with at least 855 claims made so far, the Australian Associated Press reports.
5 comments
CharlesWeber
CharlesWeber

       I take note of your concern over forest fire loss. There is nothing more destructive than a forest fire, not only to plants but also to most animals. I suggest that we should take much more action to prevent such loss than we do. I think I know of an inexpensive way of creating a forest fire break that would limit the damage. That is to create cleared strips with a plywood wall, especially if combined with a wooden pipe sprinkler system. If the wall were treated with sodium silicate solution it would become fire proof itself. I do not have data as to the feasibility of preventing rain from washing out the sodium silicate, but I am confident that certain paints would work. You may see this discussed in detail in  http://www.angelfire.com/nc/isoptera/index.html  .

As for preemptive fires, deliberate setting of fires in our forests borders on insanity. Letting accidental fires rage out of control is almost as nutty. A much more sensible solution would be to remove and grind up debris and brush either for farm soil organic amendments or to generate electricity, the last giving a by product of potassium hydroxide for acid soil. It would be much safer than coal mining and probably cheaper.

        Even if I have not persuaded you that forest fires are not a good idea, at least I am sure you would agree that protecting people’s wooden homes located in forests would be in order. It is not too smart to allow our homes outside of forests to burn down either. When they are rebuilt, huge amounts of energy and wood are used. Funerals for the ones who fail to make it out in time use a fair amount of energy also. My vote is none of such funerals and many less for coal miners by use of sodium silicate.

StephaniePorter
StephaniePorter

Wow! Australia and the western U.S. have something in common, they BOTH HAVE WILD FIRES and people that set fires because they are have a sick enjoyment or they want to appear like a hero, someone did that years ago in California, U.S. once and was arrested. 

firemarshal
firemarshal

why don't you call the president of America and ask for some water bombs and water missles and water torpedos !

rpearlston
rpearlston

@StephaniePorter You forgot about Greece.

And at least this year in Australia, at least some of the perpetrators were kids who may or may not understand the risks involved in playing with fire under any circumstances, let alone in a tinder-dry region.

ThaliaPerry4
ThaliaPerry4

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