An out-of-control bushfire in Australia has spread across south-west Sydney and could be heading toward a nuclear reactor.
The bushfire has already burnt through 980 hectares of land and is still being spread by strong winds, as residents of Pleasure Point, Sandy Point, Illawong, Menai and Bangor are warned to take shelter.
Homeowners have been fighting the fires which threaten their homes, reports 9Today:
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Residents in Alfords Point and Barden Ridge have also been advised to shelter in place as the fire approaches.
The New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) said it was concerned flying embers could spark new blazes ahead of the advancing fire front.
They have been updating the public via their social media accounts:
— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) April 15, 2018
Greg Allan, a spokesman for NSW Rural Fire Service, told Daily Mail Australia:
We are advising residents in those suburbs to shelter in place, as it is now too late to leave. Embers can travel a strong distance.
I’d advise residents that if you see flames with no truck or firefighter there, call 000 immediately.
— Andy White (@andyywhite) April 14, 2018
The blaze did approach the military barracks at Holsworthy, where chemicals and ammunition are stored. Spot fires had also broken out at the site but are said to be under control.
A spokesperson from the Department of Defence told Daily Mail Australia:
A fire approached the Holsworthy military area from the west. Non-essential personnel were evacuated from the base, and the fire was attended by Fire & Rescue NSW and the NSW Rural Fire Service.
Currently we have nearly 900 firefighters working on 48 bush and grass fires across NSW. 500 of those crews are working on the fire burning near Holsworthy and Menai. #nswrfs #nswfires pic.twitter.com/sNShlzlQ3y
— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) April 14, 2018
The RFS have deployed nearly 900 firefighters, who are currently working hard across 48 bush and grass fires throughout New South Wales.
According to their official Twitter account, 500 of those crew members are working on the fire burning near Holsworthy and Menai.
They’ve also managed to save a few of Australia’s favourite critters along the way in heroic efforts:
There has been some amazing work done by firefighter from all agencies. Despite the horrific conditions, there have been no reports of homes being lost. A lot of very hard work still to be done today. @FRNSW #NSWRFS pic.twitter.com/pg0iOMIp8M
— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) April 14, 2018
A spokesman for the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation in Lucas Heights said there is no current threat to the reactor, but safety measures had been taken.
The spokesperson stated:
ANSTO always works with local emergency services, and the Rural Fire Service has advised no risk to ANSTO as a result of the fires in the vicinity of our Lucas Heights campus.
ANSTO will continue to take the advice of emergency services throughout the evening. As a precautionary measure, the ANSTO Operations Centre has been activated, and is actively monitoring the situation. Non-essential staff have left the site.
ANSTO infrastructure including the OPAL reactor is protected by numerous fire safety systems, policies, plans and arrangements to ensure there is never any risk to operations or safety.
Our Lucas Heights campus is closed tomorrow for non-essential staff, contractors, construction workers & tenants to minimise local traffic. The @NSWRFS has advised no current risk to ANSTO as a result of the fires near our campus. Full details: https://t.co/n2xJSpThkl
— ANSTO (@ANSTO) April 15, 2018
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull praised the emergency response, saying:
It is unseasonably hot and that’s a matter of obviously great concern, but we have to deal with the worst that Mother Nature can throw at us and the worse Australians are presented with by nature, the better it brings out the Australian spirit.
That’s the spirit, Mr Turnbull. Let’s hope everyone stay safe out there in those awful conditions.
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A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.