FORMER prime minister Tony Abbott has made a less than graceful arrival at the Castle Cove fire command centre where he’s helping fight an out-of-control blaze, The Daily Telegraph reports. Arriving with his Davidson RFS crew, Mr Abbott fell face-first out of the fire truck and on to the road.
As he tried to get up, a fellow firefighter then opened the back door of the truck and hit him in the head. Rattled but seemingly unfazed, Abbott then continued with his RFS duties. The Castle Cove fire is one of several burning across the state.
Strong wind gusts are hampering the efforts of more than 600 firefighters working to contain 36 bush and grass fires across the state. The deteriorating weather conditions have resulted in flare-ups around Sydney, including a major factory fire at Revesby. The NSW Rural Fire Service sent an air crane to douse an out-of-control fire at Castle Cove, which had threatened to jump the water to Killarney Heights.
“Across the State, we 36 bush and grass fires, of which 19 remain uncontained,” he said. “None of the fires are directly threatening property, although fires are burning near or behind them.
A massive factory fire in Revesby is being fuelled by high winds and is threatening to spread to adjoining properties. A car wrecking yard starting going up in flames at about 11am, with smoke billowing out of the area around Mavis St. The cloud of smoke can be seen from more than 15km away.
Nearby, Bankstown Hospital is on standby for a possible evacuation. NSW Fire and Rescue Crews are on the scene and are dealing with wind gusts of over 60km/h. Police have 12 crews on the scene are diverting traffic away from Mavis St and Jellicoe St.
A police spokesman said there are no reports of injury.
— Fire & Rescue NSW (@FRNSW) November 5, 2016
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has joined his fellow RFS officers in fighting an out-of-control blaze at Castle Cove this afternoon. No stranger to the fluoro yellow two piece uniform, Mr Abbott could be seen partially covered in ash as he headed into the fire ground near Deepwater Rd with other crews this afternoon.
When approached by media for comment, Abbott said “I can’t, I’m operational”. The aerial water bombers helped douse the flames which burned in steep terrain near houses on the edge of the harbour. Residents have been told to stay alert, but have not yet been evacuated.
An emergency has been declared in Cessnock where firefighters are battling to contain an out-of-control bushfire. The fire is burning across 30 hectares near Racecourse Road, close to a housing estate.
Of the greatest concern are the fires around the Shoalhaven area (where fires have already burnt approximately 490 hectares), and a spot fire occurred earlier this morning to the west of Stott Cres in Callala Bay. This fire continues to move towards homes in that area, and helicopters have been sent to assist firefighters.
A NSW RFS spokesman said that there is a large cleared area behind homes in Stott Cres which firefighters will use to protect property if the need arises. Firefighters are also working nearby, in the vicinity of Roskell Rd and Caffery Circuit in Callala Beach.
A NSW RFS spokesman said there is no access to Callala Beach. Access remains open to Callala Bay via Callala Bay Road. A strong south westerly wind change has moved across the fire ground, and while this will move the fire away Callala Beach and Callala Bay it may put pressure on the northern containment line along Forest Rd.
NSW Rural Fire Service spokesman Ben Shepherd said that there were perfect weather conditions for fire today. “It’s warm and windy, fire could kick off anywhere,” he said.
An abandoned orphanage in Goulburn caught fire for the second night running last night. The roof of St John’s Orphanage collapsed and the blaze may have destroyed the building, which is more than a 100 years old, the NSW Rural Fire Service says.
Friday night’s fire comes just 24 hours after crews saved the building from another blaze, but the RFS cannot comment on the cause.
FIRE investigators remain on the scene of a suspicious blaze which threatened homes and destroyed property at Cranebrook yesterday. NSW Fire Service Deputy Comissioner Rob Rogers said this morning one house and a shed had been damaged while car had been destroyed during the fire, which was allegedly deliberately lit yesterday afternoon.
A 16-year-old boy has since been arrested and charged for allegedly starting the fire near Vincent Rd. Deputy Comissioner Rogers warned residents to be on the lookout for suspicious behaviour ahead of summer.
“Yesterday’s fire was a good example of what we can expect in summer,” he said. “It’s very lucky houses weren’t destroyed” Mr Rogers said fire crews were “vigorously” cleaning up today to ensure the windy conditions do not reignite any spot fires.
ACROSS THE STATE
Fires in Liverpool, Walgett, Lake Macquarie, Shoalhaven and Parkes were this morning listed by NSW RFS as ‘out of control’. At Richmond Valley, a bushfire is ‘under control, but has burned through 118ha.
On Sydney’s northern beaches, 275ha of land to the west of Ingleside and north east of Terry Hills adjacent to McCarrs Creek Road has also burned, in a fire now listed as ‘under control’.