A convoy of Country Fire Authority trucks from Victoria make their way north along the M1 towards the Central Coast north of Sydney. Picture: AAP
A convoy of Country Fire Authority trucks from Victoria make their way north along the M1 towards the Central Coast north of Sydney. Picture: AAP

Victorian fire crews deployed to NSW frontline

Victorian fire crews have been flown in to help tackle the deadly New South Wales bushfires as the state braces for a day of catastrophic fire danger.

Authorities have warned of devastating conditions that could intensify out of control fires which have already claimed three lives and razed more than 200 homes and sheds.

About 50 Victorian firefighters have been deployed to fire-ravaged regions, including strike teams in Singleton and Goulburn.

A seven-day state of emergency was declared in NSW on Monday - the first since the 2013 Blue Mountains bushfires.

NSW Emergency Services Minister David Elliott said residents were facing what "could be the most dangerous bushfire week this nation has ever seen".

 

 

CFA fire crews travel up the Hume Highway to assist in the NSW bushfires. Picture: Tom Winter
CFA fire crews travel up the Hume Highway to assist in the NSW bushfires. Picture: Tom Winter

 

 

The forecast of extreme heat and gale-force winds has been likened to the conditions of Victoria's Black Saturday in 2009, when 173 people were killed.

Temperatures in the high 30s, winds over 80kmh and low humidity were expected to make it virtually impossible for firefighters to control the worst fires, from Sydney's north coast down to Hawkesbury, Lithgow and The Blue Mountains.

The NSW Rural Fire Service deputy commissioner Rob Rogers said: "I've been in this industry for 40 years, and I've not seen a scenario like this before."

Crews from the CFA, MFB, SES and Forest Fire Management Victoria were brought in as part of a major deployment to add back-up and support for their NSW counterparts.

Some residents of fire-effected areas in New South Wales have lost their homes to the flames. Picture: Annette Dew
Some residents of fire-effected areas in New South Wales have lost their homes to the flames. Picture: Annette Dew

Victoria's State Duty Officer John Katakouzinos said the focus was on trying to minimise damage amid fears of more loss of life and destruction of property.

He said it was important to pitch in and lend a hand in the face of a dire emergency.

"We would like to thank not only the firefighters who give up their time to protect lives and properties in NSW, but also the families, loved ones and businesses that allow our members to assist with this emergency," he said.

The CFA dispatched a fleet of 76 vehicles and 286 firefighters, who drove up or were flown in.

The military was placed on standby to send thousands of national troops to help the bushfire crisis with commanders ordered to deploy local troops to combat the unprecedented catastrophic wildfire threat.

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds on Monday wrote to the chief of the Australian Defence Force General Angus Campbell to give the exceptional order to his commanders to "make it clear" they have the authority to deploy defence resources as they saw fit at a local level to deal with emergencies.

More than 450 NSW schools will be closed on Tuesday

josh.fagan@news.com.au