Bushfires Officially Catastrophic

2:50 PM (AEDT) in the last sixty minutes we’ve gone from 0 to 10 emergency warnings for out-of-control bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland.

It seems surreal to be writing this, but there are over 71 fires currently burning in NSW, most of them uncontrolled, and in Queensland, there are 55 (there were 70 five days ago). And, while finger-pointing isn’t going to put them out, it’s worth noting that the Coalition government has sacked a third of NSW national parks rangers (who perform hazard reduction burns) since coming into power in 2011.

It goes without saying that if you are in a bushfire affected area you must stay tuned to your local emergency broadcaster. Alerts for NSW can be found HERE. For QLD they can be found HERE.

Persistent high temperatures and strengthening winds are ensuring that these are going to be the worst bushfires our country has ever seen. And, with so many fires burning—at unprecedented speeds—it’s difficult to accurately report on the situation. But here’s what’s happening right now:

The NSW Rural Fire Service has issued ten emergency warnings across the state, including for fires at Hillville Road (near Nabiac and Failford), Llangothlin (near Armidale), Thunderbolts Way (north of the Gloucester), Gulf Road (south-west of Tenterfield), and Hillville Road (south-west of Taree). For additional information and up-to-date reporting, consult the RFS (Rural Fire Service) website above, or you follow them on Twitter HERE.

A state of fire emergency has been declared across 42 local government areas in Queensland. The main concern is in south-east Queensland, and conditions are expected to worsen into the afternoon. Queensland RFS website above, Twitter HERE.

In NSW, nearly 600 schools have been closed, and residents are preparing for catastrophic fire conditions across Greater Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra/Shoalhaven. Dozens of bushfires continue to burn across Queensland and Australia’s east coast. A ‘catastrophic’ FDR (Fire Danger Rating) is issued when fires are likely to be so fierce that even a well prepared, well-constructed and actively defended home may not survive.

Direct donations to the NSW Rural Fire Service can be made HERE and the QLD Rural Fire Service HERE.

Details of The Salvation Army’s disaster appeal to help support evacuees and emergency services during the current crisis can be found HERE.

The Red Cross has a register allowing affected residents and their families to reunite.

The department of human services has published information, including the criteria for receiving the payments and allowances, HERE for NSW residents, and HERE for Queensland residents.

Our supernaturally inept Prime Minister would love to know what you think of the job he’s doing HERE.

This is an incredibly sad situation, but the emotion most felt by people affected is anger. Read this op-ed by the mayor of Glen Innes Severn council Carol Sparks to get angry yourself. 

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