A Sydney student on a flight back from Melbourne managed to snap a terrifying picture of the horrific ACT blaze, showing just how close the fires got to the city.
“It’s like heaven and hell,” one user commented on the extraordinary snap.
“It’s a scary comparison between the size of the fire and the size of the city,” another commented on the viral image.
While fire activity has eased, residents in the southern tip of the ACT are being urged to remain vigilant to the threat of bushfires.
“There is currently no threat to our southern suburbs and the ACT, but conditions can and may change quickly,” ACT Emergency Services Agency Commissioner Georgeina Whelan told reporters in Canberra on Sunday
The ACT is now bracing for a storm on Sunday afternoon, which will hopefully bring some reprieve.
NSW Health issued a warning on Sunday morning of the impact of smoke haze and dust, with Sydney’s air quality forecast to be poor due to particles.
“A change in wind direction is likely to bring smoke from the southern NSW and ACT bushfires into eastern parts of Sydney, the Illawarra, and possibly the Central Coast and Newcastle this morning,” NSW Health said in a statement on Sunday.
NSW Health medical advisor Dr Adi Vyas said dust storms in western NSW may affect western Sydney.
“People with chronic respiratory and cardiovascular conditions should avoid outdoor physical activity and those with asthma should also follow their Asthma Action Plan and carry their reliever medication with them,” Dr Vyas said in a statement.
“Minimising physical activity, staying indoors and knowing your treatment plan are important ways to reduce the risk of dust and smoke-related illness.
On Sunday morning, four fires were still at “watch and act” level.
An out-of-control fire sparked by embers from a blaze in the ACT is still testing NSW firefighters.
The intense fires that licked through Michelago, Colinton and Bredbo yesterday left a path of destruction behind. The extent of the damage and the total number of properties affected is yet to be confirmed.
Firefighting crews in the area were on alert for downbursts of air that could exacerbate the spread of fire in the area – so intense were the blazes that they were generating their own weather.
NSW firefighters have experienced another difficult day as multiple blazes burned at emergency level across the southeast.
Just after 1pm on Sunday, the RFS warned of increased fire activity in the Snowy Monaro region. “If you are [in] the areas north-east of Bredbo, watch our for embers and spot fires. Know what you will do if the fire threatens,” they shared.
Snowy Monaro Regional Council asked residents in the tiny town of Bredbo to reduce their water usage where possible “to ensure there’s enough water for emergency firefighting efforts”.
“Water is currently being used faster than it can replenished,” the council posted on Facebook.
The Clear Range fire will continue to be a key focus for the RFS on Sunday, a spokeswoman said.
The Monaro Highway between Michelago and Bredbo remains closed due to fire activity, with coach trips from Canberra to Cooma being redirected via Batemans Bay. There is currently no forecast for when the highway will reopen.
Very high fire danger is forecast for Sunday for the north coast, greater Hunter, greater Sydney, Illawarra/Shoalhaven, central ranges, northern slopes and north western fire regions.
A total fire ban remains in place across the ACT despite the downgrading of a persistent blaze in the territory’s south from emergency level.
The out-of-control Clear Range blaze, created from embers that spread from the ACT’s large Orroral Valley blaze, has been downgraded to “advice” level.
The Orroral Valley blaze was downgraded on Saturday afternoon to “watch and act” after southern ACT residents were earlier warned the 55,000-hectare fire could pose a threat to lives. Properties have been lost and one-fifth of the ACT burned in the Orroral Valley and Clear Range bushfires. The fires remain out of control and will burn for weeks.
An RFS spokeswoman on Saturday night said there had been unconfirmed reports of possibly five structures lost.
“Fire activity has eased across the fire ground,” the ACT’s Emergency Services Agency said in a statement on Saturday evening.
People in the areas of Apollo Road, Boboyan Road, Naas Road and Top Naas Road need to remain vigilant as conditions can again deteriorate. Those in Tharwa also need to monitor conditions.