Thursday, 21 February, 2019

Large bushfire burns near homes on Sydney outskirts

Dark smoke fills the sky at Holsworthy. Source Instagram  Shiresmith Dark smoke fills the sky at Holsworthy. Source Instagram Shiresmith
Melinda Barton | 16 April, 2018, 10:11

A bushfire that has burned nearly 1,000 hectares in Sydney's south-west remains out of control but has been downgraded as conditions ease and crews begin back-burning operations.

Water bombers are seen fighting a bushfire in Alfords Point as fire crews watch and wait in Sydney on Sunday. The fire has ripped through 2500 of land in Sydney's southwest.

"Temperatures could be a little higher [today] but we'll also have increased humidity, so that plus the slower speed of the winds will certainly assist firefighters bringing this fire under control".

Firefighters worked through the night to backburn areas around Heathcote Road near Pleasure Point, as well as the Holsworthy military base.

Major roads separating bushland and residences were cut off in some areas, and fire services used helicopters to dump water over key points.

RFS spokesman Greg Allan said some properties had not escaped unscathed.

"It is absolutely miraculous that we have not lost any lives and virtually no property and this is because of the hard work and dedication and heroism of our fire services", the state's acting Emergency Services Minister Mark Speakman told reporters Monday.

"Residents in Illawong, Bangor and Picnic Point are experiencing ember attack and should continue to monitor for any new spot fires in the affected areas".

By 5pm, some Menai residents were starting to relax.

"It was pretty scary", he told AAP when finally opening a beer, thankful his house came with sprinklers on the roof.

A blaze at Menai still continues to burn in a south easterly direction toward Barden Ridge - no homes are at risk but crews are on the ground focused on containing the fire.

A NSW Police investigation is underway into the cause of the fire, as it may have been potentially lit.

More than 200 people visited an emergency centre at Moorebank Sports Club overnight, with local hotels offering accommodation to residents unable to return to their homes, ABC said.

"I think we've got a long way to go before we're out of the woods", he said.

The RFS is now advising residents in Pleasure Point, Sandy Point, Alfords Point, Barden Ridge, Voyager Point, Illawong, Menai & Bangor to "remain vigilant throughout the day and keep themselves up to date by checking the NSW RFS website".

Heathcote Road remains closed between Macarthur Drive and New Illawarra Road while Old Illawarra Road at Barden Ridge has reopened.