RFS warns of severe conditions
AS NEW South Wales continues to burn, senior firefighters and weather experts are warning of dangerously hot and dry conditions across the state.
The mercury is expected to soar during a statewide Total Fire Ban which is now in effect through until midnight Saturday December 21.
On Wednesday morning the Rural Fire Service tweeted people need to be prepared.
"At 8.30am there are 99 fires burning across NSW with more than half yet to be contained," the RFS said.
"Over 2000 firefighters will be in the field today."
At a media conference in Sydney today, NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian said she had been briefed by NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimons.about the dangerous and unpredictable fire conditions ahead.
She said the extreme heatwave conditions impact on the bushfires burning across the state with Saturday predicted to be very severe.
"There is still an element of unpredictability, which is what concerns us," she said.
"Given the heatwave conditions on Thursday but worse on Saturday, we need everyone to be alert and mindful of the conditions."
Police and Emergency Services Minister, David Elliott, said people must take personal responsibility for their actions during this time.
"The biggest risk to the people of NSW over the four days is complacency," he said.
"This Saturday we will have around 3000 firefighters on the front line and nearly 3 million hectares have been burnt and 100 aviation assets are in the air."
RFS Commissioner Fitzsimmons said, "sustained and elevated fire dangers will see Saturday a very difficult and horrible day".
He said everyone needed to consider their bushfire survival plan and stay vigilant.
"We are talking about records for heat and fires being broken, Thursday will be a really bad day and Saturday will be worse," he said.
"There significant fire activity in the north… spot fires will start well ahead of the main fire front."
The Bureau of Meteorology is reminding communities to remain alert to the risks posed by heatwaves, with a week of extreme temperatures set to impact large parts of southeastern Australia.
Bureau meteorologist Sarah Scully says many areas will experience severe to extreme heatwaves.
"We're expecting large areas of inland South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales to experience temperatures in the mid to high 40s," she said.
"For many areas, severe to extreme heatwave conditions will be felt, so it's important people follow the advice of health authorities, stay up to date with the latest forecasts and warnings from the Bureau and remember to check in on any vulnerable family and friends."
Bureau climatologist Dr Blair Trewin said temperatures in many locations are forecast to approach or even exceed December and potentially annual records.
"Australia's warmest day on record occurred in January 2013, when the average maximum temperature across the continent was 40.30 C," he said,
"We're closely monitoring the development and progression of this heat but based on current forecasts we could see that record broken this week."
Meanwhile, a RFS spokesman said every effort is made to keep their firefighters safe and well at all times.
"What we do every day is crews are given an IAP (Incident Action Plan) which not only contains weather forecasts but also advice for the coming operational shifts and within these there is safety advice for the current conditions," he said.
"Obviously we will ensure plenty of water in the staging areas and on the trucks."