NSW police minister David Elliott warned Friday would be another dangerous day for the state because of the heat but hopes the state has reached the peak of the bushfire crisis.
“After a couple of days of moist and mild weather, hopefully the fire grounds will be a little easier to manage,” he said.
“We remain vigilant. We remain supporting 2000-odd firefighters in the field.
“I think – with the aviation assets and new ones arriving, I think that this week will be considered the end of the beginning and I think what you will see at the end of this month is the commencement of the mopping up exercises.”
Authorities have continually warned the end of summer is a long way off but Mr Elliott said fire crews were using cooler conditions “to good effect”.
He said February was always hot, but with the forecasts of some wet weather coming in March and April there shouldn’t be too much more fire expansion.
“What we will see is containment and that, indeed – the advice I got at Gosper’s Mountain when I visited the fire-line there is that should be contained tomorrow and that’s a fire that’s been going on since October,” he said.
“So as I said, I think we’ve reached the peak …. but we’re not out of the woods and there’s a lot of work to go.”
The NSW Rural Fire Service warned that Wednesday would see very high fire danger in the Central Rangers, North Western and Southern Slopes.
A total fire ban will be in place for the Souther Slopes from midnight Tuesday.
Tomorrow will see Very High fire danger in the Central Ranges, North Western & Southern Slopes. From midnight tonight a Total Fire Ban will be in place for Southern Slopes. Take time to prepare your property & talk to family about your bush fire survival plan. #nswrfs #nswfires pic.twitter.com/K0DSMMooiK
— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) January 7, 2020
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews warned people not to be complacent ahead of dangerous conditions predicted for Thursday and Friday.
He said people north-east Victoria should pay attention to advice from authorities as the mercury rises into the 30s later this week.
“Smoke and air quality is a big challenge for us and these next two days will be a big challenge for us as the weather warms up again,” he said.
“Messages will be sent out Thursday and Friday this week. They are about life and death, and people need to remain vigilant.”
“This is not over by a long shot.”
Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp warned the whole state to be alert to fire danger.
“The rest of our state is really dry as well … we need to be vigilant across the state,” he said.