New South Wales has been plunged back into a state of emergency.
New South Wales has been plunged back into a state of emergency.

What does a state of emergency mean?

For the third time in this extraordinary and unprecedented fire season, the New South Wales Government has declared a state of emergency.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons requested the declaration ahead of extremely hot conditions with more than 100 fires currently raging across the state.

The state of emergency will be active for seven days from Friday.

"Declaring this state of emergency is vital to the safety of communities in NSW as we face the most devastating bushfire season in living memory," Ms Berejiklian said.

The declaration gives the RFS exceptional powers for seven days. Picture: Jenny Evans/Getty Images
The declaration gives the RFS exceptional powers for seven days. Picture: Jenny Evans/Getty Images

The declaration means Mr Fitzsimmons and the RFS will be given exceptional powers as the operational leader.

He will be able to direct any government agency as well as co-ordinate government resources.

The commissioner will also be given power to:

• Close roads and thoroughfares to traffic

• Pull down or shore up infrastructure at risk of collapse

• Order the shutdown of essential utilities in the declared area including electricity, gas, oil, water

• Enter or take possession of property in the course of the emergency response

The state continues to be lashed with deadly wildfires. Picture: Alex Coppel
The state continues to be lashed with deadly wildfires. Picture: Alex Coppel

Mr Fitzsimmons warned the conditions will be particularly dangerous as the south coast continues to evacuate residents and tourists.

"We're going to have a very long, difficult day of hot, dry winds, dominating out of the north, northwest before a southerly change," NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons warned.

"It is going to be a very dangerous day. It's going to be a very difficult day."


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