Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Major damage feared in Australia wildfires

17 October 2013, 18:54

Sydney - At least 100 homes are feared to have been destroyed by intense wildfires which tore across south-eastern Australia in horror wind conditions on Thursday, as fire-fighters warned of "substantial" property damage.

Seven major blazes were burning across the state of New South Wales, fanned by high, erratic winds in unseasonably warm 34°C weather, with infernos at Springwood and Lithgow in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney sending thick plumes of smoke and ash across the city.

"If we get through with less than 100 homes destroyed today, we have been lucky," NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons tweeted of the blazes. No injuries or fatalities have been reported.

Springwood man Joe Moore told Sky News his home had been razed while an estimated 40 other houses had been lost in the village, though that figure could not be confirmed by officials.

"It's about as bad a situation as we could ever have hoped for," he said.

NSW Emergency Services Minister Mike Gallacher said the unconfirmed reports "from both police and firefighters in the field around Springwood is we're seeing substantial losses to property, homes".

"The footage we're seeing as well as the reports from the fire ground is that the situation is not good," he said.

The NSW Rural Fire Service said it was bracing for "erratic and dangerous conditions for the next few hours" as a southerly wind came in, with flames descending the mountains and jumping the Nepean River on the outskirts of Sydney to start a fire near Penrith.

"Reports of homes being lost across several fire grounds," said Rural Fire Service deputy commissioner Rob Rogers. "Still have several hours of unpredictable fire activity ahead".

Gallacher said fire crews were reporting some of the worst conditions seen in years, with quick-moving blazes of "great ferocity" and smoke so thick it was showing up on weather radars.

Strong winds forced the grounding of water-bombing firefighting aircraft and residents of the Blue Mountains were urged to stay off the roads to clear the way for emergency vehicles.

Wildfires are common in Australia's summer months between December and February, and authorities are expecting a bad season this year due to low rainfall in the winter and forecasts of hot, dry weather ahead.

A devastating firestorm ripped through southern Victoria in 2009, razing thousands of homes and killing 173 people.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...