Forecast against NSW firefighters

16:00, Jan 09 2013
Tasmaniabush fire
A fire at Tasmania's Forcett, 30km from Hobart, sends smoke over Park Beach.
Tasmaniabush fire
Fire burning near Dodges Ferry, a small town in south eastern Tasmania.
Tasmaniabush fire
The settlement of Dunalley, about 40 kilometres east of Hobart, was one of the worst hit by the Tasmanian bush fires.
Tasmaniabush fire
Police Rescue Helicopter crewman Matthew Drumm looks out at the destruction.
Australia heatwave 2013
Exercise groups train at sunrise to beat the heat on Sydney's Bronte Beach as temperatures are expected to reach record highs.
Australia heatwave 2013
Water bombing at Oura, near Wagga Wagga. New South Wales faces its worst fire risk with temperatures predicted to hit the mid to high 40s.
Australia heatwave 2013
Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons (C) at the State Operation Centre.
Australian heat
Kutchani, a female lion, eats a frozen milk iceblock at Sydney's Taronga Zoo.
Australian heatwave
Smoke rises from the Yarrabin bushfire burning out of control near Cooma, south of Canberra.
Australia heatwave
A bush fire burning near Cooma, south of Canberra.
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Singed clothes hang from a clothesline in a backyard affected by a bushfire at Boomer Bay, about 40 kilometres east of Hobart.
Australia heatwave
Fire crossing Princes Highway at Deans Gap fire in Shoalhaven, southern NSW.
Australia heatwave
A deserted petrol station, close to a fire south west of Wandandian, NSW.
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NSW Rural Fire Service crews tackle a deliberately lit bushfire near Bidwill in Sydney's west.
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Carngham Station, in Victoria, was destroyed in the state's bushfires.
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A fireman working on flames near Ballarat, Victoria.
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NSW Rural Fire Service crews water-bombing fires at Bungendore.
Australia heatwave
'Mopping-up" spot fires at Sandhills in Bungendore, Australia.
Australia fires
An aerial photo of the fire threatening the Siding Springs Observatory.
Australia fires
The fire moves in on the observatory in Siding Springs, in rural NSW.
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The Siding Spring Observatory the morning after the fire swept through.
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Several buildings at the Siding Spring Observatory were damaged.
Australia bushfires
A fire danger sign on the Hume Highway between Sydney and Melbourne gives a grim warning to locals.
NSW fire at Coonabarabran
Fire burns alongside the Newell Highway near Coonabarabran, about 350km northwest of Sydney.
Australia bush fires
A children's playground destroyed by the massive bushfire in rural New South Wales.
Australia bush fires
Robina and Felicity Otrupcek standing in front of Robina's home that was water-bombed and remained unscathed as fire burnt through the New South Wales property.
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The changed landscape of Baradine Road at Coonabarabran, which was hit by one of New South Wales' worst bushfires in history.
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Trying to keep cool at the Big Day Out in Sydney.
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Crowds at Wanda Beach as temperatures begin to fall in Sydney.
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Swimmers and sun bathers at Victoria Park Pool, in Sydney's Glebe.
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Sydneysiders cool off in Botany Bay near Yarra Bay.
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Frantic efforts to damp down properties as the fire approaches.
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Firefighers battling a bushfire in Aberdare, New South Wales.
Ku-Ring-Gai
A fire burns in Ku-Ring-Gai National Park, north of Sydney.

Fire crews are racing to ensure that more than 130 bushfires still burning across NSW are under control before the forecast return of hot and windy conditions  pose another serious threat to the state on the weekend.

While a southerly change on Wednesday brought much needed cooler weather to  more than 2000 fire fighters battling blazes primarily in the state’s south and west, 30 fires last night remained not contained.

Three were of particular concern to the Rural Fire Service, including one with a 44km perimeter at Dean’s Gap near Sussex Inlet, a 16,000 hectare scrub and grass fire near Yass, and a 9,000-hectare blaze in the Kybeyan Valley, near Cooma.

The lower temperatures also did not stop further outbreaks, including a fire near Lithgow, just west of the Blue Mountains, which burnt through more than 50 hectares and at one stage posed a serious threat homes. Police believe that fire  was deliberately lit.

The NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell on Wednesday raised the possibility of having those who are caught deliberately starting fires made to face the devastation they cause.

Yass Shire mayor Rowena Abbey said arsonists should be made to help put down animals injured in blazes they lit.

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"We now in this state have graffiti offenders out there removing their vandalism," Mr O’Farrell said while on a tour of fire affected areas near Wagga Wagga. "The idea of ensuring arsonists have to go out there and confront what fires can do to properties, to animals and regrettably to humans is not a bad thing."

Early estimates say the fires, which have now burnt out more than 345,000 hectares of the state, have caused $1 million in stock losses, including the death of 10,000 sheep near Yass.

Only one home has been lost, a cottage in the Kybeyan Valley in southern NSW, and there has been no loss of life which Mr O’Farrell said was a "remarkable tribute" to the planning of the RFS and other emergency services.

The RFS however warned against complacency with more dangerous weather forecast across NSW from Friday.

"We’re looking at deteriorating weather on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So the temperatures will be elevated again," RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said. "We’re going to go into another hot spell and we’re looking at potentially three days of that."

The biggest threat on Wednesday night was posed by the grass and shrub fire burning in an easterly direction about 11 kilometres outside Yass. The RFS said rural properties could be impacted and fire crews would work through the night under taking property protection. The township of Yass was currently not under threat.

"It certainly has the potential to cause quite significant devastation if it were to continue along its current path," Mr Rogers said.

"But I’m confident we will protect the township of Yass."

The fire that began on Tuesday at Deans Gap, in the Shoalhaven remained out of control and has a 44km perimeter, having burnt out more than 4,000 hectares. While it posed no immediate threat to property the forecast return of high temperatures and strong winds on Friday meant it still could pose a threat to the coastal village of Sussex Inlet and nearby and Wandandian.

A watch and act advisory also was in place for the fire at Yarrabin near Cooma, which had a front of about 20 kilometres.

Fairfax Media