Fitzsimmons continues: “We’ve still got months ahead of challenge and the only forecast for rain is late January to early February of any meaningly substance.”
Fire and Rescue NSW say they’ve moved 18 firetrucks and 72 firefighters out of inner Sydney to the western suburbs and the periphery of Sydney.
270 firefighters are in the field today, with 40 officers in incident management roles. (Note, this is in addition to other units like the RFS and interstate and international crews).
The RFS commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons says it will be “another extremely busy day” today.
“We literally have fires of concern from the Queensland border, all the way down the ranges and the coast, to the southern border,” he said.
The south coast fire has reached the coastline in numerous places, and more are burning south-west of Sydney and west of the Warragamba Dam.
Firefighters are having “an enormous amount of progress” with fires near Katoomba, he said, but the ones north of Sydney, which have burned for weeks if not months and are now around Wiseman’s Ferry, are really taking hold after lightning strikes in recent weeks.
“All of those fires under the sorts of conditions expected today have the potential and are expected to spread further east towards villages communities and isolated areas,” he said.
She adds that conditions will be worse next week.
“We are anticipating conditions worsening next week especially around Tuesday and that is why it is important for the community to remain vigilant,” the premier says.
Premier: Fires are spread across the entire coastline
Premier Gladys Berejiklian is speaking now in Sydney:
“Currently we have over 90 fires burning throughout the state, about 40 of them are uncontained, but the difference now as we lead into the summer months is, previously there were pretty much confined to the northern part of New south Wales but what we have seen this week is our resources stretched across the entire coastline.
“We have also seen the fires coming in very close proximity to major population centres whether it is on the south coast, central coast, or even greater western Sydney”.
She thanks the RFS and the volunteers for their work.
“We know there have been some property losses, the extent of which won’t be known until the fire conditions are safe for people to go in and have a look, but we also appreciate that many families and many people have been asked to leave their homes and we can appreciate what a scary time this is for many people.”
Vets are urging people to keep pets inside, if they have health issues or are otherwise vulnerable.
Dr Kate Adams told AAP that older pets, or breeds with respiratory problems, could encounter life-threatening difficulties in the heavy smoke.
“Squishy-nosed breeds” of dogs and cats are at risk, she said. Owners should look for signs their pets are struggling, such as breathing difficulties, coughing, vomiting, lethargy and runny noses and eyes.
RSPCA NSW spokeswoman Sharon Andronicos said keeping pets of all species indoors was the safest bet.
“If it is uncomfortable for a human to breathe, then it is uncomfortable for pets too,” Andronicos said in a statement. “I would suggest not doing strenuous activities or big walks until the smoke clears.”
Adams said owners should also turn on the air-conditioner to help filter the air and keep their furry friends cool.
Yesterday, prime minister Scott Morrison and opposition leader Anthony Albanese both attended Lachlan Murdoch’s Christmas drinks. Described as a “smoky” affair by the Sydney Morning Herald, the haze from bushfires was “so thick that even the view of Rose Bay was obscured from their mansion, Le Manoir”.
It has not been particularly well received, given the emergency that is facing the state.