Rural firefighters continue to fight out-of-control blazes

THE battle to control three major wildfires in NSW before the predicted weekend heat wave was stepped up on Friday night.

Most of the 1200 rural firefighters working around the state were sent to Yass, Cooma and Dean's Gap where fires burning on a 100kms front posed the biggest threat to communities.

A total fire ban will remain in the place for the weekend.

Communities across the state welcomed a cooler change on Thursday and Friday but the sweltering heat and dry winds which sparked more than 140 fires earlier this week will return Saturday.

In the coastal villages of Wandanian and Bendalong where "watch and act" warnings were issued on Friday for the Dean's Gap fire on Friday, temperatures of up to 40 degrees are expected.

By Sunday, the entire state is expected to experience temperatures above 40 degrees and the weather bureau predicts Monday could be the hottest day on record.

The majority of 99 fires still burning across the state are believed to be non-suspicious, but police have arrested several teenagers in Sydney this week and are still looking for the culprits of a large grass fire near Dubbo.

On Friday afternoon, two teenagers were arrested following a grass fire at Eagle Vale in Sydney's south.

Police allege the boys, aged 17 and 12, had been targeting known fire hotspots.

While several towns near Nowra and Cooma remained on alert on Friday, just one home had been lost in the NSW fires.

The biggest loss remains in rural NSW where thousands of livestock were killed between Jugiong and Yass on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Federal Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson said the government had been swamped with offers from country NSW registering to donate hay and grain to those who had been devastated by the blaze.

"Already we have seen the dedication of volunteers in the fire ground and now farmers across the state are throwing their support behind those affected," Ms Hodgkinson said.

"In the worst cases, properties have been left without a blade of grass to feed livestock - this register is one way of helping farming families recover from this devastating event".

Farmers impacted by the fires could be eligible to up to $15,000 in disaster relief assistance.

Fodder donations can be registered by calling 1800 814 647 or at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au.

Personal support for farmers is available at www.ruokday.com/supporters/crisis-support or by phoning 1800 7865329.

 

FIRE UPDATES

  • 99 fires still burning
  • Three fires have each burnt out more than 10,000ha in the state's south 
  • 1200 firefighters and 331 trucks on duty 350,000ha burnt
  • Only one home in NSW has been lost
  • A total fire ban remains in place for the weekend

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