Fire burns in Sydney bushland amid record-breaking heatwave29th November 2020
About 20 firefighters battled the blaze from the ground, assisted by waterbombing aircraft.
One property was damaged by the fire but the cause remains unknown, Rural Fire Service spokesman Greg Allan said.
Waterbombing aircraft drew water from nearby Lake Parramatta to try and extinguish the blaze as gusty westerly winds swept across the city.
Meanwhile a three-hectare bushfire is burning bushland along the Great Western Highway between Faulconbridge and Linden in the Blue Mountains is also burning at “watch and act” level on Sunday evening.
A grass fire in Kenthurst in Sydney’s north-west was also burning near Pitt Town Road. It was downgraded to “advice” level at 4.30pm.
Across the state there were 62 grass and bushfires at 5pm.
A separate fire destroyed Cafe Topiary in Epping in Sydney’s north on Sunday afternoon. The popular eatery went up in flames about 1pm.
Sydney tossed through its hottest November night on record on Saturday, with a low of just 25.3 degrees recorded at Observatory Hill at 1.09am. Sydneysiders woke up to temperatures of 30 degrees on Sunday morning.
At 1.34pm another record fell when the mercury rose to 40.5 degrees – the first time two consecutive days of 40-plus temperatures have been recorded in November at Sydney’s 160-year-old weather station.
The fire conditions were aggravated by winds gusting above 80 kilometres per hour in the Illawarra and up to 93 kilometres per hour at Kurnell and Sydney Airport, which recorded 42.6 degrees at 1.22pm.
NSW RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers said fires were most likely to affect the western part of the state this summer, as four years of drought had given way to rain and grass fires had become a major concern.
“It’s a very different season,” Commissioner Rogers said. “These grass fires are quite dangerous. You need to report them as soon as someone has seen a fire.”
Emergency Services Minister David Elliott said the conditions were conducive to another bad bushfire season, with 90 per cent of the state untouched from the fires of last summer.
“We can’t fall into a false sense of security,” Mr Elliott said.
NSW Ambulance readied additional resources to cope with the record temperatures.
Saturday was the third busiest day in the history of the service – surpassing Christmas and New Year’s Day – with 3356 calls and at least 80 of them directly related to the heat.
On Sunday evening Endeavour Energy was working to restore power to more than 51,000 homes in Sydney’s west and the South Coast.
Monday will be 24 degrees in the CBD and 26 in Penrith, while Tuesday could reach 41 degrees in the west.
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Josh Dye is a news reporter with The Sydney Morning Herald.
Harriet Alexander is a reporter for the Herald.