Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Laurence Reese

Sydney bushfire deemed 'highly suspicious' as threat eases

Sydney bushfire deemed 'highly suspicious' as threat eases

Water bombers are seen fighting a bushfire in Alfords Point as fire crews watch and wait in Sydney on Sunday.

New South Wales fire crews spent a second long night taking advantage of cooler conditions to back burn and protect homes in the Holsworthy area.

The RFS is now advising residents in Pleasure Point, Sandy Point, Alfords Point, Barden Ridge, Voyager Point, Illawong, Menai & Bangor to "remain vigilant throughout the day and keep themselves up to date by checking the NSW RFS website".

"We have had reports of impact on properties in west Menai and Barden Ridge but our crews at the moment are exclusively focused on fighting the fire", he told AAP.

RFS spokesman Greg Allan said on Sunday some properties had been damaged.

The RFS at 7am said the easing conditions had allowed firefighters to begin back burning along Heathcote Drive.

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Embers posed a serious threat to homes on Saturday night.

Local MP Craig Kelly said because most of the communities in the area were quite bushy and remote, residents understood the risk of bushfires.

A large bushfire that has threatened homes in Sydney is likely to have been deliberately lit, Australian authorities say.

On the weekend, residents hosed down their houses and lawns to prevent embers sparking new blazes ahead of the advancing fire front.

The fire resulted in hundreds of people being evacuated from their homes on Saturday evening with flames nearly reaching properties at Holsworthy and Wattle Grove and spot fires later threatening Sutherland and Menai.

"Yesterday we had over 500 firefighters working on the fire and that has been scaled down overnight to 250 firefighters still working on the ground", he told Network Seven.

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The blaze was downgraded from emergency level to watch and act about 5.30pm on Sunday as conditions began to ease.

Wind speeds are expected to be similar today.

But high temperatures remain a cause for concern, Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers warned.

Mr Fitzsimmons said the hot weather was sucking "the moisture out of the vegetation", making it highly susceptible to catching fire.

"We're certainly looking to maximise the amount of time we have them here".

Shane Fitzsimmons from the RFS said the fire was behaving "very aggressively".

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Reports say the unseasonably hot weather of the last few weeks is partly to blame, though police are also investigating what started the blaze and are appealing for witnesses.

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