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A State of Emergency has been declared for NSW to protect communities ahead of worsening fire and weather conditions.

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A State of Emergency has been declared for NSW to protect communities ahead of worsening fire and weather conditions.

A NSW Rural Fire Service firefighter facing a bush fire
 Ben Shepherd, NSW Rural Fire Service

The State of Emergency will last for seven days from 19 December 2019 until 26 December 2019.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has accepted the advice of Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons to declare a State of Emergency under Section 33 of the State of Emergency and Rescue Management Act(external link).

A State of Emergency declaration enables extraordinary powers to be exercised by the RFS Commissioner. These include the power to:

  • direct any government agency to conduct or refrain from conducting its functions
  • control and coordinate the allocation of government resources
  • evacuate people from property within the declared area
  • close roads and thoroughfares to traffic
  • pull down or shore up infrastructure at risk of collapse
  • order the shutdown of essential utilities in the declared area including electricity, gas, oil, water
  • enter or take possession of property in the course of the emergency response.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said declaring this State of Emergency is vital to the safety of communities in NSW as we face the most devastating bush fire season in living memory having lost six lives and almost 800 homes destroyed.

“These declarations are not taken lightly. This is the second State of Emergency this season following the declaration made on 11 November 2019, also for a period of seven days,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“It will ensure once again that our state is best placed to respond to the predicted fire conditions.”

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said the efforts of our hard-working firefighters are to be commended as they face these challenging conditions after many have been fighting fires for months.

“The entire state has a huge level of gratitude for the thousands of firefighters on the frontline who have risked their own safety to protect life and property,” Mr Elliott said.

Keep up to date with the latest bush fire alerts and warnings in your area(external link)

Find out about the support available for NSW communities affected by the bush fires