NSW fires LIVE updates: RFS brace for severe bushfire conditions across state – The Sydney Morning Herald

What we know so farThere are about 135 fires burning in NSW, 50 of which are uncontained20 people have died in the bushfires, including three volunteer firefightersAbout 1995 homes have been destroyed and another 816 have been damaged across NSWFirefighters are bracing for high temperatures and strong winds across the state on Friday3.25pmPlanes fly pink fire retardant over Charlotte Pass snow resortSome amazing footage here from the ski resort just to the north-east of Mount Kosciuszko, with planes battling against multiple places nearby: the Geehi fire to the north, the Mount Youngal fire to the west and the Pilot Lookout fire to the south.2.56pmAdaminaby fire raised to ‘watch and act’ levelBy Janek DrevikovskyA large blaze near the mountain town of Adaminaby is the fifth fire to receive a ‘watch and act’ alert today, with locals advised to monitor conditions.The Adaminaby Complex fire, burning out of control since last week, covers nearly 30,000 hectares in the Bugtown Road area.Since Thursday, there have been fears the blaze will threaten Adaminaby and neighbouring areas, like Yaouk, Anglers Reach and Shannons Flat.The RFS warns that fire activity is increasing in the area and has encouraged all visitors to leave.2.54pmMan charged after allegedly starting fire on residential propertyA man in Schofields, just north of Blacktown, has been charged after allegedly setting alight two metal drums filled with plastic during a total fire ban. Fire and Rescue NSW extinguished the blaze and were concerned several fires had allegedly been lit at the property over the past six weeks, posing a risk to the public.The 40-year-old joins the list of nearly 200 people in New South Wales charged for violating total fire bans so far this fire season, most of whom were spotted lighting fires, using power tools or having barbecues without permissions, as well as 47 who allegedly discarded a lit cigarette or match. It’s important to note that just 24 of that number were charged with deliberately lighting bushfires.2.23pm Master Builders donates $150,000 to bushfire reliefMaster Builders Australia has today announced that it is donating $150,000 to support those communities affected by the devastating bushfires and the tireless and courageous efforts of those who are fighting them.“The Master Builders movement, encompassing Master Builders’ national office, Master Builders Associations in each state and territory and MBA Insurance Services is making this donation to support their local communities to provide assistance in the immediate crisis,” said MBA boss Denita Wawn.”It is only the first step in our commitment to help affected communities to recover and rebuild their lives.”2.04pm’Thank you RFS’A tribute to the Rural Fire Service has been etched in pink fire retardant on the driveway of a NSW home.”Our firefighters have received many thank you letters and signs posted on homes over the past months,” the RFS posted on Friday.”Here is a special one, we assume made specially for our aviation teams to find.”We love how creative some of these messages are. See if you can spot it. Thank you.”1.55pmCobargo residents return to destroyed homesCobargo residents returned to devastation yesterday after fire tore through the town and claimed the lives of two residents, Robert and Patrick Salway.My colleague Sally Rawsthorne spoke to Cobargo resident and RFS volunteer Anika Craney who is the “fifth or sixth” person in her RFS brigade to have lost her home.”We were growing our own food, making our own soap and milk, killing our own meat; we had 30-year-old fruit trees,” Ms Craney said.But now, she isn’t sure she wants to stay.”I don’t know if I want to live on this land,” Ms Craney said.Read the full story here.1.51pmOpposition Leader Jodi McKay calls for NSW-led bushfire inquiryOpposition Leader Jodi McKay is calling for a NSW-led independent, public inquiry into the bushfire crisis that includes an investigation into the role of climate change.”Right now we’re all looking for a way through this disaster, but when it’s over we’ll all be looking for answers,” Ms McKay said.”What happened, why did it happen, could it have been prevented or dealt with better and how can we better help those affected by fires to recover?”[The inquiry] needs to reckon with sober questions about the role climate change has played in the more frequent and severe weather conditions we’re experiencing now and will continue to experience.”Ms McKay said Labor will support an inquiry that is led by NSW, conducted by independent experts and open to public submissions.”There’s still a lot of confusion and anxiety in the community about whether NSW was ready for these fires,” she said.”People should feel confident that their state government has done absolutely everything it can to keep them and their communities safe.”Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he is open to conducting both a federal inquiry and launching a royal commission into the current bushfire crisis.”You can do both, there are longer term issues and shorter term issues,” Mr Morrison said on Friday morning.”Whether through one inquiry [or more] … I want recommendations in the interim.”1.40pmAdaminaby residents stock up on fire retardantBy Laura ChungNorthwesterly winds are strengthening around Adaminaby, 50 kilometres from Cooma, as residents prepare for the afternoon.“It’s the time when [the fire] will flare up,” resident Ben Russell said.Adaminaby resident Ben Russell fills the tanks on the back of his Ute with fire retardant.Credit:James BrickwoodMany homes in the town have hoses in the front gardens, as residents watch and wait.One home has a sign in the window which reads: “we have evacuated xoxo be safe”.The town has been living with the threat of the Adaminaby Complex fire “at our back door” since New Year’s Eve.Mr Russell was filling up a tank with fire retardant foam and water outside the local RFS station on Friday.He usually uses the tank to spray weeds, but today it will be used to keep the fire at bay.Mr Russell said his family has done what they can to prepare the property, including running containment lines around it.He will spend the rest of the afternoon “cruising around and seeing what happens”.A southerly change is expected to sweep through the area at 9pm tonight, and residents are hoping it will push the fire away from the town.1.28pm’Dangerous, misinformation’: News Corp employee’s fire coverage emailBy Zoe Samios and Andrew HorneryA News Corp employee has slammed the organisation for its “irresponsible”, “dangerous” and “damaging” coverage of the national bushfire crisis, urging executive chairman Michael Miller to think about the “big picture”.In an email distributed to News Corp Australia staff and addressed to Mr Miller, commercial finance manager Emily Townsend said she had been filled with anxiety and disappointment over the coverage, which had impacted her ability to work.Ms Townsend, who has worked for News Corp Australia for five years, thanked Mr Miller for the email about fundraising initiative in relation to the fires, but said the efforts did not offset the company’s coverage of the bushfires.“I have been severely impacted by the coverage of News Corp publications in relation to the fires, in particular the misinformation campaign that has tried to divert attention away from the real issue which is climate change to rather focus on arson (including misrepresenting facts),” she said.Read the full story here.1.16pmMallacoota pub to receive emergency shipment of beerBy AAPA Royal Australian Navy ship will bring a shipment containing 3000 litres of beer to Mallacoota on Friday, after fears that the bushfire-ravaged town’s pub would run out of grog within a week.About 20 kegs, three pallets of stubbies and 36 slabs of beer were loaded on to the HMAS Choules on Thursday and are expected to reach the Mallacoota Hotel Motel today, the AAP reported.Mallacoota hotel owner Lou Battel, who arranged the delivery of the beer to the ship with Carlton and United Breweries, confirmed that he is expecting the beer to arrive on Friday.The beers will be sold at the bottle shop and at the hotel.”We were running low of supplies and a pub can’t run without beer, can it?” Mallacoota hotel owner Lou Battel said.”Every Australian needs a beer and definitely the emergency services working non-stop.”Peter Filipovic, chief executive of Carlton and United Breweries, said it was “the least we could do”.”The pub is at the heart of regional communities,” Mr Filipovic said.”And a pub with no beer is bad enough at the best of times.”After what Mallacoota residents and firies have been through the least we could do is make sure they could enjoy a beer.”He also threw in four kegs of beer on the house.The ship is bringing supplies of food, fuel and power to Mallacoota, after taking the last seaborne evacuees to Hastings on Wednesday.The road in and out of Mallacoota is still shut due to the bushfires, which left 4000 people stranded there.
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