Premier Gladys Berejiklian (left) and RFS commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons (right) provide bushfire updates today. Picture: AAP/Jeremy Ng
Premier Gladys Berejiklian (left) and RFS commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons (right) provide bushfire updates today. Picture: AAP/Jeremy Ng

Dire fire warning for Saturday

Authorities have warned that no amount of firefighting resources can prevent a possible repeat of Tuesday's bushfire catastrophe on the weekend when conditions could actually be worse.

Temperatures are expected to soar back into the 40s ­accompanied by strong erratic winds in fire-affected areas, posing a grave risk to life and property.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned locals to prepare for more horrible weather. Picture: AAP Image/Jeremy Ng
Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned locals to prepare for more horrible weather. Picture: AAP Image/Jeremy Ng

Rural Fire Service deputy commissioner Rob Rogers said that, although authorities were well-resourced, the massive fire front was impossible to contain.

"It's not about the number of firefighters - you could have 10,000 fire fighters on each fire we would not be able to get around these fires because where they're burning is not easy to get to - there are no easy containment lines, we'd have to get earth moving in to try and create containment lines," Mr Rogers said.

"It isn't simple to try to get around these fires and that's why I'm being upfront saying we won't get around them and Saturday is not looking like it's going to be a good day at all.

"There is every potential that the conditions on Saturday will be as bad or worse than we saw yesterday."


The already hard-hit Lake Conjola is expected to reach 41C on Saturday and Batemans Bay can expect 40C.

In the west, Penrith will have extreme heat and smoke haze with 44C, Blacktown will be 41C and Kurrajong 43C.

But the Bureau of Meteorology said it could not guarantee accuracy given the volatile weather conditions.

"At the moment there is still some uncertainty with the winds. Fire weather warnings look pretty likely for Saturday but we have to wait and see closer. What we have on the forecast is our best prediction," forecaster Gabrielle Woodhouse said.

Firefighters fear more property and live will come under threat on Saturday. Picture: Sam Mooy
Firefighters fear more property and live will come under threat on Saturday. Picture: Sam Mooy

The Rural Fire Service has also warned residents to be vigilant when sourcing information after its Fires Near Me app suffered technical glitches.

Southern Highlands RFS turned to social media to share the latest maps of fires in the region after the app failed to update.

RFS Wollondilly community liaison officer Elizabeth Ellis said residents should be aware the app was dealing with "unprecedented usage" and could experience delays.

"The usage is huge on a daily basis and also the maps in order to be updated they have to come down and be put back up again so there are times when there are momentary glitches where diamonds turn up in funny places or outside the mapped area of the fire," Ms Ellis said.

"There are unusually some times when the system doesn't work well - for example the mapping system can't get fires near me to upload the map. In that instance we make sure we put up local maps on Facebook page to provide information."

Residents are being told to prepare as weather is set to worsen again on Saturday. Picture: Sam Mooy
Residents are being told to prepare as weather is set to worsen again on Saturday. Picture: Sam Mooy

Ms Ellis said people could use other sources but only credible tools such as the CSIRO's Sentinel Hotspots.

"People need to be very careful. We are desperately telling people to go and check out what is actually on the reliable sources like RFS sites."

RFS has warned the app has had “unprecedented usage”. Picture: Joel Carrett/AAP
RFS has warned the app has had “unprecedented usage”. Picture: Joel Carrett/AAP

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