The New South Wales Rural Fire Service (NSWRFS) is currently battling at least 50 bushfires around the state as thousands of firefighters and aircraft have been mobilized to fight the unprecedented amount of blazes.
The fires have grown so quickly that it left emergency services unprepared for the amount of residents trapped by the raging fires. Authorities have stated that at this early stage, only two homes have been lost, but they are unsure of more losses given the size and fast moving nature of the bushfires that are said to be currently affecting over 90,000 residents with those numbers likely to grow.
Of the 50 reported blazes, the NSWRFS stated that firefighting efforts were in “uncharted territory” with 17 of the blazes burning simultaneously being rated by the fire service as severe.
Authorities further stated that the M1 motorway and the New England Highway, both major transport routes in the area remain closed due to the fire risk.
RFS commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons commented “The principal message is about sheltering and sheltering in place — it’s simply too dangerous and too late to leave.” in a statement to media, showing the severity of the blazes caught many by surprise and like the fast moving Camp fire in California, left many residents stranded with no means of escape due to the size and intensity of the flames leaving emergency crews powerless to reach many who called for help.
The worst of the state’s fires stretch from Forster on the state’s mid-north coast to Coraki, south-west of Ballina in New South Wales, one of Australia’s most populous states.
Emergency warnings have been issued for fires in the cities and towns of Wandsworth, Torrington, Tyringham, Willi Willi, the Tapin Tops National Park, the Crowdy Bay National Park, Hillville, Kangawalla, Muck Creek, Coombes Gap, Bora Ridge, Stockyard Flat, Carrai Creek, South Arm and McHughs Creek, the Chaelundi State Forest, the Marara State Forest and Willawarrin.