‘State of emergency’ as the Illawarra prepares for ‘catastrophic fire danger’

catastrophic warningTHE fire danger in the Illawarra tomorrow is expected to be worse than originally forecast with the mercury to soar into the mid to high 30s.

The NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian has declared a state of emergency for seven days starting immediately as bushfires rage across the state.

As a result a ‘catastrophic fire danger’ has been issued for Tuesday November 12 for the Illawarra region. The same ‘danger’ has been issued for Greater Sydney, Greater Hunter and Shoalhaven regions.

A spokesperson for the Bureau of Meteorology said high temperatures, strong winds and low humidity are forecast, making conditions dangerous. Catastrophic is the highest level of bush fire danger.

A spokesperson from the NSW Rural Fire Service said if you are in the path of a fire in these conditions, your life will be at risk, and to avoid bushland areas.

“Safer locations may include large centres, such as towns or cities well away from bushland areas,” the spokesperson said.

“If you are unable to leave, identify a safer location in case a fire starts. This may include a Neighbourhood Safer Place.”

Stay up to date on bush fires in your area by listening to local radio, through the RFS website, through social media and the Fires Near Me NSW app. Schools in identified high risk areas will be closed. Schools will notify affected students.

Schools in the north to close tomorrow include Helensburgh Public, Helensburgh Holy Cross Catholic, Otford Public, Stanwell Park Public and Scarborough Public. The Department of Education website will update the list of schools to close. For the latest updates visit:

This is the first time since new fire danger ratings were introduced in 2009 that catastrophic fire danger has been forecast for Sydney.

A statewide total fire ban has been declared for all areas of NSW for all of today (Monday) and Tuesday.

A spokesperson from the Bulli Rural Fire Brigade warns that the weather predicted combined with the ongoing lack of rain will make some of the worst conditions possible if a fire were to start. The time to prepare is now.

Visit to make preparations for a fire plan.


About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of Australian pubs and associated industries for over 30 years. He is working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick managed several community newspapers. He has been editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), the Sydney city newspaper, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.


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