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Northmead fire under investigation as NSW RFS flags hot weather and grassland fires

By Kevin Nguyen, Monday November 30, 2020 - 13:12 EDT
ABC image
A house in Northmead was badly damaged by a bushfire at the weekend. - ABC

Firefighters are investigating several bushfires over the weekend as suspicious as emergency services gear up for large blazes in central NSW over the summer.



The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) said there were 54 bushfires burning across the state leading out of the a two-day heatwave which saw recording breaking temperatures for November.

A fire in Northmead, in Sydney's west, damaged a property before it was brought under control.

RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers said the Northmead fire was one of many blazes that "didn't have apparent natural cause".

"That's one that would be considered suspicious and is under investigation by fire and rescue investigators," he said today.

"Rather than jump to conclusions we should let [them] ? carrying out their investigations."



NSW Police said a man will face court today for allegedly lighting a grass fire in Griffith, in NSW Riverina, on Friday morning.

With temperatures set to increase again tomorrow and this weekend, firefighting efforts will be focused inland, where post-Black Summer flooding resulted in an overgrowth of grass inland.

"We don't have the drought conditions we had going into last summer," Commissioner Rogers said.

"[But] one of those serious concerns for campaign fire is grasslands west of the ranges.

"There's been significant growth, more growth than we have seen in more than a couple of decades ? this weekend it will dry out even more."

The Commissioner said this week the state should expect "very hot" and "very low humidity" stretching out from the inland border in Victoria, all the way north to the Queensland border.



RFS Deputy Commission Peter McKechnie told ABC this morning there were three fires which were not under control and today's milder conditions will help with the remaining blazes.

"Whilst we still have 50 fires burning there's only three of them that are not contained and we're quite confident of getting containment on them today," he said.

Meanwhile, The NSW Government is appealing to people to take more care on roads, waterways and in bushland with the official start of summer tomorrow.

Police Minister David Elliott said the emergency services were preparing for an significant uptick in domestic travel this holiday because of closed international borders.

He said police and State Emergency Services (SES) would be on high alert as more families hit the roads but travellers were cautioned against reckless behaviour.

"This summer is meant to be enjoyed," Mr Elliott said.

"We want you to take responsibility for your actions ? we want you to make sure we can finish this summer in a hell of a lot better place than we started it."


- ABC

© ABC 2020

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