Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Bushfire Hell

For those readers that are not from Australia and maybe insulated as to whats been happening down here we are currently in the middle on one of our worst bushfire seasons in living memory and the bad news is it only just turned to summer two weeks ago. Spring has seen some of the biggest fires across the state. Currently there are over 100 bushfire's burning in NSW, with over 40 of them still out of control. They first started up the mid north coast of NSW but now consume the whole eastern seaboard.

For the last 6 weeks smoke has covered Sydney creating the worst air quality readings in the world. That's right even worse than India. The air quality index for some parts of the city(Prospect) was above 2234 – more than 10 times the ‘hazardous’ threshold of 200. Bushfire's have burned over 2.7 million hectares in New South Wales this fire season. You may have seen pictures on the news such as this one below of Sydney harbour shrouded in smoke.

Pic Left: A screen shot from the fires near me app about 2 weeks ago showing 80+ fires raging all across NSW.

Photo Right: Local shopping centre on the way home Friday afternoon about 5pm two weeks ago. The sun was blocked by smoke, with an eerie red sun with an red/orange glow everywhere.

Silverwater - M4

The photo above was taken 1 week ago from the overpass on the M4 motorway in Silverwater right near my work. You can only see for about 200m before the smoke haze blocks out everything. Normally on a clear day you would see the skyscrapers of Parramatta from here.

Leaving work on Friday afternoon my Ute was covered in white ash from the fires.

Looking on the weather map provided a fascinating view as you can see to the right in the pic. It looks like Sydney is getting a belting of rain. Unfortunately for us there's been no rain recently and what the weather radar is actually picking up is the cloud of ash from the bushfire's.

The largest fire around Sydney has been the Gospers Mountain fire which has engulfed an area of over 500,00 hectares. That is actually much larger than the entire Sydney basin, and for those that have not visited Sydney before that is a huge area. The map below from today shows the area of the fire(in black) and you can see the Sydney metro area just below it.

The Gospers Mountain fire has engulfed one of Sydney premier bike road's, namely the Putty Road. If you regularly follow my blog then you will have seen many pictures from this road as I ride it fairly often.

On Sunday I decided to head up there and take a look around and see what damage has been done. I wasn't prepared for the devastation I witnessed. As you can see from the following images the terrain is so steep and rugged bushland there is no way to get in and fight these fires except from the air.

There's a larger gallery of images at my facebook page.

Here's a short video I took whilst I was out on the road. It really shows the devastation of this fire.

The road was blocked at the Grey Gums cafe where I stopped for breakfast and coffee. The young lass that manned the road block told me that the fire was only 16 km north of the cafe heading towards the cafe with RFS services back burning to try and stop it.

After a very nice coffee and bacon & egg roll for mid morning breakfast it was time to head home but not before putting in a donation to the RFS at the Grey Gums. Let's hope the everyone can get out and support these guys and help them get back on their feet. I stopped a few times for photo's on the way home, which again can be found in the gallery above.

Thanks for reading and lets hope for a smoke/fire free christmas.



  1. The problem is that there is just no rain to 1. Help put the fires out and 2. To help with the regrowth that normally happens afterwards. It’s going to be pretty grim if we don’t get some rain very soon. ;(
    Also, a big thumbs up to the rural fire service. So many volunteers risking their lives each day - for almost two months straight now.

    1. Agreed. So sad two RFS fire fighters killed today in an accident where a tree fell on there truck and it rolled. So sad. RIP

  2. Thanks for posting that Steve. We get almost daily coverage on NZ TV and I can assure you that Australia is very much in the average Kiwi's thoughts at the moment. Apart from the fire risk itself, I find the pollution levels particularly frightening, especially for young children. Your photos make it very personal. It looks like a lack of rain is going to be a long term problem.

    1. Hi Geoff
      The smoke has been problematic here in Sydney with several thousand people hospitalised with breathing difficulties. We desperately need rain. Send some over if you have any spare....

  3. hey it aint all bad news....at least the coppers cant hide now

    1. Well there is one bonus in all this destruction I guess.....

  4. Seen a fair bit of it on our news. Pretty bad alright. We've even had some smoke haze here from it.

    Hope you get that rain soon!

    1. Your getting the smoke haze too from here? Thats bad and also incredible it has made it that far.