Monday, 21 January, 2019


Raging bushfire traps residents in their homes on the outskirts of Sydney

A local resident walks past firefighters as the fire burns at Holsworthy A local resident walks past firefighters as the fire burns
Bennie Garza | 16 April, 2018, 04:06

"The strength of the wind, and the dryness of it and the conditions over the weekend - it is miraculous that we're here this morning talking about no homes lost", he said.

Sydney is expected to see temperatures of up to 25C, but the New South Wales Rural Fire Service has downgraded the bushfire threat to an "watch and act" alert after winds eased.

The blaze was downgraded from watch-and-act to advice about 2am on Monday.

Firefighters have taken advantage of the conditions to do a back burn along Heathcote Road near Pleasure Point as well as in areas of the Holsworthy military base.

"We have had reports of impact on properties in west Menai and Barden Ridge but our crews at the moment are exclusively focused on fighting the fire", he told AAP.

The fire is moving in a south-easterly direction through dense bushland.

Greg Allan from the NSW RFS said that was where resources were being focussed.

Many residents in Menai made a decision to remain at their homes and were kept busy fighting ember attacks.

Fire investigators were still working to determine the cause of the fire, but Mr Fitzsimmons said it was most likely deliberately lit.

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

A strike force has been established to investigate the blaze which is believed to have started in Casula.

NSW RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said two giant aircraft, the DC10 Nancybird and the C130 Hercules "Thor" - normally used for aerial water bombing - were not available to help fight the Sydney fire.

Embers posed a serious threat to homes on Saturday night.

Heathcote Road, which links Holsworthy and the Royal National Park, is now closed between Macarthur Drive and New Illawarra Road.

"I think it's fair to say that it is highly suspicious, in the absence of any other cause like lightning", he said.

Fire and Rescue and RFS Crews from Kariong, Terrigal, Copacabana, Hamlyn Terrace and Wyoming are among the 500 firefighters and 100 trucks fighting the flames in Holsworthy, Menai, Sandy Point and Alfords Point.

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