Ns News Online Desk: Catastrophic conditions are forecast for Saturday in Sydney and parts of NSW with temperatures topping 40C and dangerous westerly winds creating a weather nightmare for firefighters.
Conditions are expected to be worse than Thursday when two firefighters were killed battling out-of-control blazes as the Rural Fire Service warned fires could spot up to 18km ahead of the main fire front and a strong southerly buster is expected in the afternoon. There are fears the strong winds could stop firefighting planes and waterbombing helicopters from taking off.Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said it was going to be a “critically challenging and dangerous day”. He said firefighters had to remain focused despite the tragic deaths of Andrew O’Dwyer and Geoffrey Keaton, from the Horsley Park RFS brigade.“Not withstanding the absolute devastation and the loss of these two men last night, we need to maintain our focus and resolve,” Mr Fitzsimmons said.
Yesterday’s milder conditions gave firefighters the opportunity to do consolidation work, including back burning, ahead of the expected fire blitz as some residents were preparing to stay and defend their properties despite being told by the RFS that “these are the worst of conditions”.