It Must Be Christmas - Sydney is on Fire Again

Full Story

Photo Gallery

It’s going to be another tough summer for Sydney.

Yesterday afternoon, with temperatures in the high 30s (around 100 Fahrenheit), atmospheric humidity below ten percent, and hot winds of 50-70km/h (gusting to over 100) thirty bushfires started (or were started grr) within an hour. At work, we first noticed something was wrong when the electricity started to dip and surge. I spotted smoke out the window, and thought a building was on fire a street or two away. I got up onto the roof, and was stunned at what I saw. I had a vew of the city for 20 or 30 km in most directions, and here and there enormous columns of smoke were rising. It looked like war.

20+ homes lost, and five firefighters injured - on the first day of this year’s fires.


Dopers in outer Sydney, please check in. Accomm. available at my place if you need it. Keep your bags packed.

I hope everyone’s OK.

Most of the Sydney Dopers should be fine. We usually get a bit concerned about reprise, who would be the most likely of us to be in the immediate path of the fires. Goo lives in an area with a lot of bushland, but at this stage the fires are too far south to affect her. Don’t Ask might also be close to the fires.

Today, the weather is a little less extreme, but the fires are far from being under control. The wind is still dry and a little gusty, and there’s no rain predicted. So, all bets are off. Anything could happen.

This thread started by woolly over at the G’Dope board seems to indicate that most of the fires have been started by cigarette butts carelessly tossed out of car windows.

Grrrrr why can’t people have more consideration?

it’s horrific, just horrific. and when you think some sick puppies are setting these fires :frowning:

we had a violent storm yesterday including an 8 hour blackout in Logan so hopefully things are damped down for another few days here.

TheLoadedDog - After the summer we had here in Colorado, USA, I am feeling for you, completely.

Scary stuff and so horrible.

My hopes, thoughts and prayers are with you right now. We are expected to have similar fires again next summer. It sucks big time.

Hugs to all our Aussie Dopers. I hope all are out of harm’s way.

I’d just like to clarify, I live in an area that has heaps of bushland, but my house is in the middle of suburbia, so I’m pretty safe, even if the fires are close.

As for some of these fires being deliberately lit, I heard on the news that they have already charged a youth in connection with the Holsworty fire, but no online cites as yet.

Holsworty ?!? That should read Holsworthy. Sorry.

I live near Kenthurst and I almost had a heart attack when I woke up this morning and heard that the fires were heading our way! I bundled the cat and dog inside, (almost forgot my boyfriend) and we huddled in the lounge room. Luckily, the fire didn’t reach us but it did reach many homes. It’s a horrible thing to happen, and it always does seem to happen around Christmas.

My Mum lives very close to some of the fires. We plan to go and stay with one of her friends.

Just in case anyone hasn’t read my other thread regarding the fires, I’m fine - but yes, we do have bags packed and we have an evacuation plan.

For thosw who don’t live in this kind of territory, what we’re facing are firestorms - most of the fires are not at ground level, they’re in the tree tops and our native plants are just loaded with volatile oils.

I believe that Elvis has already come up from Victoria (big water crane - we already had two here). As I said in the other thread, the Kiwi and Merkin firefighters are already on their way to help out. West of me, the biggest problem is that there is no water for the firefighters to use. Drought and fire are a BAD combination.

Now that the wind has dropped we are not (right now) at risk - I’m just hoping that no-one decides to set fire to Nurragingy Reserve, because if that happens, we’re in deep shit.

The pit seems like the right place for this Reuters article

Jesus murphy-- nice way to trivialize the situation.

I thought that too, Larry Mudd, until I read the following paragraph:

My bolding.

Sure, the article was playing on the stereotype of the Aussie beer drinker. But that “Here it comes, guys” is pure ANZAC mettle.

Good on 'em.


The Daily Telegraph

The Sydney Morning Herald

Unfortunately, there are now two reported fatalities.
For those who don’t know Sydney’s geography, the city is in a large, flat basin about thirty or so miles across. The ocean, of course, forms the eastern edge, but for most of the north, south, and west, Sydney is enclosed by thick tree cover on rugged sandstone terrain. Most of these areas are National Park. Because of the difficult terrain, there aren’t many roads or rail lines out of town (generally only one in each direction). Last night, the Pacific Highway and the railway to the north were cut, leaving commuters from the dormitory areas of the Central coast and Newcastle stranded. The Great Western highway and railway to the west (over the mountains) were also cut.

Yesterday, the weather cooled a little, which helped (it SNOWED in Victoria! Weird). Today, all I can see out of the window is an almost complete cover of smoke haze. It’s given me a bit of a cough, and my eyes are smarting a little when it gets bad, yet I’m a long way from any danger.

Of course, a big THANK YOU to the interstate, New Zealand, and American firefighters who are either already here, or on their way.

Relevant Links:
Bushfire Safety (Victorian Govt. site)

Traffic Reports (road closures): Sydney, regional New South Wales

Affected rail services (updated)
The line between Hornsby and Gosford will remain closed all weekend. There are buses running instead, but that depends on the freeway staying open.

Stay safe, everyone.

We really are heading for a bad for a bad Christmas season aren’t we? :frowning: Especially since we are in the middle of a devastating drought… you think it can’t get much worse and then you are once again reminded that many of these fires were deliberately lit :frowning: mutters under breath

I can’t express enough disgust and sorrow at the moment - disgust for the people who deliberately start these fires, and sorrow for those who lose everything to them.

It has been pissing down rain in Sydney since last night - a welcome relief to all of us living in and around the Sydney metropolitan area. Everyone, that is, except for my daughter who is now bitching that her formal (prom) dress and hairdo are going to be ruined by the rain - teenagers, you’ve gotta love 'em.

Yeah. The rain is wonderful. Solid, steady, soaking rain. There seemed to be a lot of happy people on the streets this morning. I’d never seen rain do that before. :slight_smile: This is definitely going to break the back of the current fires, and gives a bit more hope for the rest of the fire season.

Check out the BoM Sydney radar. What a glorious sight.

Yep, you guessed it. Road closures due to local flooding are currently being reported on the radio.

The fates do, indeed, have a sense of irony.

Best wishes for a good Chrissy to our cuzzies over the Tas. Our news has been full of the fires and if I could send you some of Aucklands rain I would!