One fire in Lake Macquarie was still burning out of control as of 6pm, and NSW Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons looked “visibly relieved” when he addressed media at 5.30pm, SMH reports.
Firefighters had been concerned that a 3,358-hectare fire in Springwood would join up with two massive fires that have been burning in the Blue Mountains since Thursday to form a “mega-fire”, but various high-risk strategies paid off.
“The threat to the Blue Mountains has been averted today,” he said, noting that residents who evacuated earlier in the day could return in the early evening.
Fitzsimmons added that a southerly change could help the firefighting effort but could present new challenges elsewhere.
“In a lot of the areas a southwesterly change as it stands today would prove to be somewhat favourable across a lot of the fire grounds,” he said.
“That doesn’t mean it will make all of these fire grounds trouble-free. As a matter of fact, it has the very real potential to present new challenges.”
As of 2pm today, there were three emergency warnings for bushfires burning across the state, as temperatures soared above 30 degrees Celsius and 80 km/h winds swept through the area.
The Bureau of Meteorology expects conditions to ease tomorrow, with temperatures expected to fall to a maximum of 23 degrees Celsius in Sydney and fire danger readings falling from extreme to “very high”.
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