The latest live updates from around Australia as bushfire emergencies threaten the eastern states. A full list of bushfire information services are can be found here.
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OFFICIAL TWEETS FROM FIRE AGENCIES
Thank you for following our blog today. You can get real-time bushfire information and feeds from fire agencies on our social media hub: http://news.social.sbs.com.au/?p=latest.
And go to 'bushfire warnings, fire bans and updates: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1724430/Bushfire-information-Warnings-fire-bans-and-updates to easily access information posted on fire agencies' websites.
TAS UPDATE 18.41pm: Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings says her government will spend whatever is needed to get bushfire-ravaged towns back on their feet. Ms Giddings announced an interim committee to plan the state's recovery from the bushfires, which have destroyed at least 128 homes, mainly on the Tasman Peninsula. The damage to private property is currently estimated to be at least $42 million, but that figure is set to rise exponentially.
FED UPDATE 18.18pm: Alasdair Hainsworth from the Bureau of Meteorology explains what weather conditions to expect in the next few days.
NSW UPDATE 18.15pm: Brooke Boney from NITV News reports on the NSW south coast's Indigenous firefighters. Are their tactics different, and how?
VIC UPDATE 18.10pm: An emergency warning has been re-issued for Chepstowe near Ballarat in southern Victoria.
VIC UPDATE 18.06pm: A fast-moving bushfire is burning near the Victorian town of Goroke. The Country Fire Authority has issued a watch and act alert for Goroke, Gymbowen and Tooan, in the Wimmera region in Victoria's west.
NSW UPDATE 17.55pm: Keep up to date with the latest bushfire developments in NSW with this interactive map:
TAS UPDATE 17.45pm: Bushfire victims are being warned about the health risks of returning to their homes. Tasmania's chief health officer Dr Roscoe Taylor says smouldering debris, live electrical wires, contaminated water and asbestos are among the dangers that could be encountered. He is urging people not to rush back to their homes unprepared. "The desire to go home is understandable but it needs to be done carefully and safely to avoid serious injury," Dr Taylor said in a statement.
TAS UPDATE 17.37pm: A bushfire emergency warning has been issued for Montumana in northwest Tasmania. The fire is expected to directly threaten Hellyer Beach, Edgcumbe Beach, Crayfish Beach and Rocky Cape on Tuesday evening and residents are being advised to activate their bushfire plans. Drivers on the Bass Highway are advised that thick smoke is limiting visibility.
NSW UPDATE 17.26pm: Three youths are in police custody after a suspicious fire in Sydney's west. Firefighters have contained the blaze in Shalvey, near Blacktown, which affected about 10 hectares of bushland on Tuesday, a Rural Fire Service (RFS) spokesman said. The three youths were taken into custody on Tuesday afternoon and are helping police with their inquiries.
VIC UPDATE 17.08pm: A grassfire is affecting the Chepstowe area near Ballarat in southern Victoria, prompting the Country Fire Authority to issue an emergency warning for residents.
NSW UPDATE 17.07pm: An emergency warning has been issued for a fire burning at Bogan Gate, west of Parkes. The Prices Highway has re-opened.
NSW, ACT UPDATE 16.45pm: A total fire ban has been announced for tomorrow in NSW and the ACT.
TAS UPDATE 16.23pm: Rumours that bodies have been removed from bushfire-hit areas of Tasmania are untrue and no deaths have been confirmed, police say. "Police searches of fire-affected areas are continuing today, and no bodies have been discovered at this stage," police say. More than 550 houses have been searched and no bodies found, despite concerns for around 100 people still unaccounted for.
FED UPDATE 16.18pm: In this map by the Australian Bureau of Metereology, new colours have been introduced to represent forecast temperatures of 50-52°C and 52-54°C.
TAS UPDATE 15.55pm: An emergency warning for Forcett in Tasmania has been downgraded to a 'Watch and Act' alert.
NSW UPDATE 15.46pm: The Deans Gap fire in the Shoalhaven is now burning at potentially catastrophic levels and could impact homes, the Rural Fire Service says.
NSW UPDATE 15.37pm: 135 bushfires are now burning through NSW and 40 are not contained. Five emergency warnings have been issued. "We still have many hours of hot dry weather ahead of us, says NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons.
TAS UPDATE 15.23pm: A bushfire emergency warning has been issued for Mathinna in northeast Tasmania. Residents at Bull Bottom, Mathinna, are being told the area is at direct risk from an uncontrolled fire within the next hour. Authorities say it is likely too late to leave the area but those without a bushfire plan should leave immediately if there is a clear path.
NT UPDATE 15.19pm: A bushfire in Central Australia has forced a major resort to evacuate guests to a safe area for several hours. Guests at the Kings Canyon resort, about 300 kilometres southwest of Alice Springs, have had a restless night, after a bushfire threatened the area. It is also believed that the Lilla Aboriginal community has been evacuated as a precaution.
NSW UPDATE 15.35pm: Temperatures in Sydney hit 41 degrees C. A southerly wind change is moving slowly up the NSW coast and could bring cooler conditions in Sydney between 11pm and 1am.
TAS UPDATE 15.09pm: A bushfire emergency warning has been issued for Kellevie and Bream Creek in southeast Tasmania. Residents of Kellevie and Bream Creek areas, and surrounding areas east of Bream Creek, are being told to relocate to a nearby safer place immediately. Kellevie residents and surrounds are being told to head north to Orford via Wielangta Road. Residents of the Bream Creek area are advised to head to Marion Beach via Marion Bay Road.
NSW UPDATE 15.06pm: A fire at Narrandera, in southern New South Wales, has become the fifth blaze upgraded to the highest level of emergency.
NSW UPDATE 15.00pm Firefighters say a new bushfire is out of control at Deans Gap near Nowra, describing the blaze as running very hard. The Rural Fire Service says said firefighters are water bombing the fire front from the northern side.
NSW UPDATE 14.50pm The RFS is warning the fire burning out of control at Brogo could push up to upper Brogo Road due to a southerly change. The Tarcutta fire is still impacting on that town and it's still running hard. But the RFS says it's not too concerned about the fire near Leeton at Narrandera because it is headed towards a lake. The Ryans Road fire in the Lockhart region is currently impacting Henty.
NSW UPDATE 14.45pm: Premier Barry O'Farrell, Emergency Services Minister Michael Gallacher and Energy Minister Chris Hartcher at NSW RFS Headquarters for a briefing with Commissioner Fitzsimmons on the fire situation.
NSW UPDATE 14.40pm: In Sydney, Fire and Rescue NSW crews contained a bushfire in a reserve at Shalvey in the city's west, that was believed to be deliberately lit. Superintendent Tom Cooper said city crews had been busy with fire alarms going off due to the heat, snakes going into houses and a truck fire on the M4.
TAS UPDATE 14.35 pm Around 40 bushfires continue to burn across Tasmania, with
uncontrolled blazes at Montumana in the northwest and Lake Repulse in the Derwent Valley also causing concern. Convoys out of the isolated peninsula have been suspended because of smoke and embers on the closed Arthur Highway. Police say they have escorted six convoys, totalling around 500 cars, out of the Nubeena refuge area over the past two days.
NSW UPDATE 14.31pm Twenty fires are burning uncontrolled in NSW, with fast-running grass and scrub fires in the Bega Valley and east of Cooma in the state's south of most concern to authorities. In the Carlaminda area, 12 kilometres east of Cooma, a 1400-hectare fire continues to burn out of control with residents evacuating to Nimmitabel.
TAS UPDATE 14.28pm The Tasman Peninsula blaze is threatening the small bayside
towns of Eaglehawk Neck, Pirates Bay and Doo Town. Residents were earlier advised to leave, but the Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) says now they should head to the Eaglehawk Neck jetty or beach. Winds with gusts of up to 70km/h are fanning the fire, which has already destroyed more than 100 properties.
NSW UPDATE 14.24 Emergency warning for bushfire burning at Corbie Hill, Narrandera.
VIC UPDATE 14.09pm Emergency warning on the Calden Freeway, due to a fire in Sunbury.
NSW UPDATE 14.04pm The Hume Highway has been cut off by a bushfire burning at Tarcutta, south-east of Wagga Wagga. An emergency warning has been issued for Tarcutta, as the town gets impacted by fire.
NSW UPDATE 1.32pm Sydney is expected to peak at 43 degrees in the afternoon, with the temperatures hovering around the 30 degree mark for most of the evening.
Senior meteorologist at the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), Julie Evans, says Sydney temperatures have trailed the rest of the state
"Ahead of the cool change, quite warm and very gusty wind conditions are expected," said Ms Evans.
TAS UPDATE 1.27pm An emergency warning issued for a large, out-of-control bushfire at Flowery Gully Road, Flowery Gully.
FED UPDATE 1.16pm
Winds to change from north west to south west this afternoon.
TAS UPDATE 1.12pm Australian Red Cross is running the Tasmanian Bushfires 2013 Appeal http://www.redcross.org.au/tasmanian-bushfires-appeal-2013.aspx
NSW UPDATE 1.10pm Revised observations and forecasts from the Bureau of Meteorology show the Northern and Eastern Riverina and southern parts of the Lower Central West Plains are expected to reach Catastrophic fire danger levels this afternoon ahead of a southerly change.
This is in addition to the Illawarra/Shoalhaven and Southern Ranges areas which are also under a Catastrophic fire danger rating.
NSW UPDATE 1:06pm An out of control bush fire is burning five kilometres to the north west of Tarcutta, near Wagga Wagga, along Mates Gully Road (cross of Blythes Road).
The Hume Highway will be closed due to fire activity in the area.
NSW UPDATE 1.03pm Reports of a fire in Tarrcutta in south west NSW near Tumutt and Wagga Wagga. More to come.
NSW UPDATE 1.01pm Some tips on preparing for bush fire season from NSWRFS.&lt;br&gt;&amp;nbsp;
SA UPDATE 12.57pm A string of bushfires continue to burn across northern South Australia but are not causing concern.
NSW UPDATE 12.34pm About 100 firefighters and 25 trucks are protecting Oura, east
of Wagga Wagga. Two helicopters are water bombing smouldering hills near a winery and dairy farms.
ACT UPDATE 12.32pm ACT Rural Fire Service and ACT Fire & Rescue are working to extinguish a grass fire burning at Coppins Crossing Road Belconnen. The Bushfire Alert and Warning Level for this fire has been set at ADVICE.
NSW UPDATE 12.22pm
Below is the Yarrabin fire in the Cooma area. The red and yellow sections show the most intense part of the fire, burning quickly through grassland. Latest fire info is available at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au
A fire is burning out of contol in Tasmania's Forcett area, with an emergency warning for Eaglehawk Neck, Pirates Bay, Doo Town, Old Jetty Road and Blowhole Road.
There are Watch and Act advisories in place for Lake Repulse and Montumana.
Tasmania Police deny reports of looting in the evacuated Tasman peninsular.
NEW SOUTH WALES http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/dsp_content.cfm?cat_id=684
An out of control bushfire is currently burning on the Warrigal Range Road at Brogo, expected to impact on homes east of Warrigal Range Road or west of Eagles Nest Road by approximately 12.45pm.
An Emergency Warning has been issued for an out of control bush fire burning in the Numeralla area near Cooma.
In Sydney, crews are at the scene of an electrical substation fire at the Lucas Heights nuclear research facility.
There is a large, slow moving bushfire in the Drik Drik area where Watch and Act advice in place.
TAS UPDATE 12.01am Emergency warning issued in the Forcett fire for Eaglehawk Neck, Pirates Bay, Doo Town, Old Jetty Road and Blowhole Road.
NSW UPDATE 11.31am More than 90 per cent of NSW has fire warnings of severe or more than severe.
NSW UPDATE 11.27am An out of control bush fire is currently burning on the Warrigal Range Road at Brogo. People in the area are able to leave now if the path is clear and relocate to Bega township. http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/dsp_content.cfm?cat_id=684
FED UPDATE 11.22am Use the SBS bushfire information page for a complete list of bushfire related information services http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1724430/Bushfire-information--Warnings,-fire-bans-and-updates
NSW UPDATE 11.19am Opposition leader Tony Abbott is on standby with his local NSWRFS brigade, in Sydney's bushy northerns suburbs.
NSW UPDATE 11.13am 102 fires in NSW, 21 uncontained.
VIC UPDATE 11.11am Authorities say the Kenbruck fire has the potential to double to 800 hectares.
TAS UPDATE 11.09am Five convoys, totalling around 395 cars and 750 people, have moved out of the Nubeena area in the past 24 hours.
Police say around 500 cars and 15-hundred people remain at Nubeena.
NSW UPDATE 11.00am Fire has reached homes at Carlaminda near Cooma and people
have been urged to take shelter inside because it's too late to leave in safety.
NSW UPDATE 10.53am the NSW Rural Fire Service say their state operations centre in Sydney is fully activated today.
FED UPDATE 10.52am: Opposition Leader Tony Abbott: "I thank the prime minister for her visit to fire affected areas in Tasmania, I thank the government for swiftly offering the standard government emergency assistance to all the victims of the Tasmania fires,"
NSW UPDATE 10.49am: An aerial photo of the Yarrabin fire burning in the Cooma Monaro area. People in the Kybean Valley are advised to leave now and head to Nimmitabel township immediately.
NSW UPDATE 10.30am NSW township of Bega hits 39 degrees.
NSW UPDATE:10.23am Drik Drik - A community information point will be established at Dartmoor Community Hall between 11.00am to 12.00pm daily until further notice.
UPDATE 10.05am WATCH AND ACT: There is a large, slow moving bushfire in the Drik Drik area.
The fire is currently active south of Drik Drik in plantation area near the Glenelg River. It is travelling in a northerly direction.
NSW UPDATE 10.02am Take a ride on the 'Elvis' air crane, in the sky above NSW today.
NSW UPDATE 9.57am: Temperatures along the New South Wales' south coast have been climbing by two degrees every 30 minutes, as the state prepares for heatwave conditions.
Bega on the far south coast reached 38 degrees this morning, while inland Broken Hill, the Riverina, and Wagga Wagga all recorded temperatures over 30 degrees.
TAS UPDATE 9.36am: Residents on the Tasman Peninsula have been urged to seek refuge
ahead of a renewed bushfire threat across the region.
The Tasmanian Fire Service has called for residents in Eagle Hawk Neck, Pirates Bay, Doo Town, Old Jetty Road and Blowhole Road to seek refuge at the Tasman Civic Centre in Nubeena today.
NSW UPDATE: 9.25am Firefighters assisted by 3 aircraft including an aircrane are working on a fire to the west of Wandandian. @NSWRFS (NSW RFS)
UPDATE 9.21am NSW's Yarrabin Fire:
"Leave only if the path is clear. If safe to do so, residents can relocate to the north along Mount Forest Road"
UPDATE 9.12am Follow social media updates in the SBS News Social media hub:
UPDATE 9.05am ALERT ISSUED: Shane Fitzsimmons from NSW RFS says there is an emergency warning for the Yarrabin Fire (Cooma-Monaro LGA) in state's south-east.
"An Emergency Warning has been issued for an out of control bush fire burning in the Numeralla area"
UPDATE 9.00am NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell has told Macquarie Radio police are also visiting known arsonists so they know that they're under observation on a day like
We couldn't find a complete list of bushfire information services on any Australian federal (or state) website, so we compiled this list:
UPDATE 8.55am Arsonists face fines of "over hundreds of thousands and jail for up to 25 years" NSW Rural Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons tells ABC24.
UPDATE 8.50am A message from The Prince of Wales to His Excellency The Governor of Tasmania following the recent bushfires:
"Having visited Tasmania so recently, and retaining countless fond and happy memories of all those we met, my wife and I were profoundly saddened to hear of the appalling bushfires which have caused such dreadful damage and despair across the island." Read more
UPDATE 8.43AM SBS World News Australia reporter Manny Tsigas speaks from the control centre in the southern New South Wales city of Wagga Wagga. LISTEN
UPDATE 8.30am Today's warnings and Incidents in NSW.
UPDATE 8.25am Cooler weather expected today in Tasmania http://www.bom.gov.au/tas/forecasts/map.shtm
UPDATE 8.00am The Prime Minister has tweeted her support for Red Cross appeal
To help victims of the Tasmanian bushfires, please consider donating to the Red Cross: ow.ly/gAyP8 TeamJG
— Julia Gillard (@JuliaGillard) January 7, 2013