Homes destroyed and feared loss of life in New South Wales bush fires

Friday, October 18, 2013

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell.
Image: Toby Hudson.

A massive fire is feared to have killed residents and destroyed more than one hundred homes in the Blue Mountains region of New South Wales, Australia. The blaze is one of the worst New South Wales have seen in more than a decade, said Premier Barry O'Farrell.

Emergency services attempted to evaluate the extent of the devastation on Thursday night, and determined that up to 30 homes in the area of Springwood had been lost. Mr O'Farrell says it will be a miracle if lives were not lost in the blaze. Rural Fire Service Commissioner, Shane Fitzimmons said that it could take some time to assess the true extent of the damage, however, and fears it could be much worse.

“We’ll be counting properties in the dozens, if not the hundreds,” he said.

Weather conditions are set to ease on Friday, however the firefighters have a huge battle ahead of them, says Deputy RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers.

“The worst combination is north-westerly to south-westerly and we’ve got that now. We’ve got an incredibly long fire front and there is no sign of any rain coming”.

Schools in the Blue Mountains were evacuated last night, with many residents seeking refuge at emergency evacuation centres around the area. Around 600 students were transported to Springwood Sports Club for shelter.

While fires continue to cause destruction across the Blue Mountains region, around 100 further blazes are being contained across the Central Coast and in the Southern Highlands.

Residents have been urged to leave areas surrounding the Blue Mountains region, after the alert system was upgraded to an ‘emergency warning’.