A grass fire was reported at Kurmond this morning as the Hawkesbury Local Government Area (LGA) braces for catastrophic fire conditions today.
The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) issued advice shortly after 6am that a grass fire had broken out at Longleat Road, Kurmond, however was later downgraded to a smoke sighting.
Residents should stay up to date about fires via the Fires Near Me app and website in case the situation changes, the RFS stated.
The Hawkesbury LGA has been included in a catastrophic fire danger warning issued for today by the RFS, the highest level of bushfire danger.
A number of schools across the region have been closed due to increased fire risk and others have advised only minimal supervision will be available.
Greater Sydney Local Land Services (GSLLS) has advised evacuation centres have been set up for those concerned about livestock.
"The following large animal evacuation centres are now open: Hawkesbury Showground, Castle Hill Showground, Penrith Paceway, [and] Luddenham Showground," a statement said.
"Horse and animal owners are reminded that care of the animal including adequate food and water supply as well as full time supervision remains their responsibility once they arrive at the evacuation centre.
"You are also asked to bring appropriate identification for their animals. Contact the Ag and Animal services hotline on 1800 814 647 if you need emergency assistance."
Five horses were registered and two onsite as at 9.30am, GSLLS stated.
The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mount Tomah has also announced it will be closed today for safety reasons.
Hawkesbury is included in the Greater Sydney region, and it is the first time the rating has been forecast for the area.
Mayor Barry Calvert said Hawkesbury City Council was supporting the NSW RFS and other agencies and new information will be passed on via council's website www.hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au and social media.
Advice for people in areas of Catastrophic fire danger include:
- Avoid bush fire prone areas. A safer area may be a large town or city, shopping centres or facilities well away from bushland areas.
- Schools in identified high risk areas will be closed. Schools will notify affected students. Start making arrangements now.
- If you are unable to leave, identify a safe location which may be nearby. This may include a Neighbourhood Safer Place.
A statewide total fire ban has been declared for all areas of NSW for all of today.
NSW police have issued a number of important contact details for today's conditions:
- All persons residing within the areas affected by bush fires are reminded to register online with Register Find Reunite: https://register.redcross.org.au
- If you require information about the current bush fires, please call the Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737.
- For general information and assistance please call the Public Information Inquiry Centre on 1800 227 228.
- Stay up to date with all fire activity by monitoring https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au
- Listen to your local radio stations, especially the ABC, and monitor the NSW Police Facebook site