Yesterday, residents of the Blue Mountains rushed home early to see if their homes were still standing. Thousands of people have been evacuated and hundreds of homes are feared destroyed as 98 bushfires burn across the state. Firefighters from the ACT, Queensland, Melbourne and South Australia are on their way.
The first death was reported this morning, a 63 year old man died on the Central Coast after he collapsed trying to protect his Lake Munmorah home.
Tamarama Beach yesterday
The smoke from the mountains spread all the way across to the coast, creating an eerie feel to the city.
People are angry and are looking for someone to blame. The Greenies have a lot to answer for, according to some, and so has the Rural Fire Service (RFS) for not doing enough "burning off."
Questions are being asked - why weren't adequate hazard reduction burns done in the cooler months and why can't farmers get a permit to burn off ground fuel on their properties?
Last summer, a Tasmanian farmer was told he couldn't burn off the hills on his property because there were protected eagles and swift parrots breeding there. Imagine his fury when not long after, his home, property and all his sheep were completely destroyed.
Brian Williams is captain of the Kurrajong Heights bushfire brigade with 44 years experience. "Fires run on fuel" he said "limited fuel means limited fire." Sounds logical, doesn't it, but he's frustrated at every turn.
Instead of needing only 6 people to perform a controlled burn in the cooler months, he now needs 40, to oversee biodiversity and other ridiculous red tape requirements put there by taxpayer-funded green activists. So instead of carrying out five hazard reduction burns last season, he only managed two.
But it's not their fault, say the Greens. It's all caused by Climate Change. Deputy Green leader Adam Bandt said yesterday it was the fault of Tony Abbott's climate change policy and would lead to more bushfires across the nation in the future. "Global warming is the biggest threat to Australian life" he said.
"I think that given Parliament is about to resume shortly and global warming is on the agenda for debate, we should be talking about how we as politicians can do everything we can to protect the Australian way of life" he said.