Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
ABC News 24 8pm News -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) homes destroyed, only 30% of this fire zone assessed, so This program is not captioned.

This Program is Captioned Live.Tonight - there's no end in sight for the NSW emergency with crews working around the clock. I'd simply want to pay tribute to all of those people that have been out regrettably say
fighting these fires but regrettably say that they're going to be doing so for days if not weeks into the future..

Just everything's gone, homes lost and
everything.As many as 200 homes lost and one man confirmed dead in the State's worst fires for a decade.The PM surveys devastated areas praising the efforts of fighters.And many fires are still burning with dozens out of control with focus shifting State.
to the Central Coast of the State.Live across Australia, you're watching ABC News 24, good evening, I'm Jane Hutcheon. Tonight NSW is dealing with an ongoing bushfire emergency. I'll be with you for the next 2 hours bringing you the latest information from the ground, updates on the efforts to contain the fires and we'll be speaking with those directly hundreds
affected. One man is dead and hundreds of homes are believed to have been destroyed. Cool temperatures and a drop in the wind speed are offering fire fighters some relief but in the words of the Rural Fire Service Commissioner the situation is still very active, very dynamic, very dangerous.There are more than 20 fires still uncontained with several watch and act alerts but it's in the lower Blue vast majority of houses have been lost. With affected areas right across Springwood and the surrounding suburbs of Winmalee and Yellow Rock. There alone 81 properties have been confirmed destroyed but that toll is sure to rise.Adrian Raschella now with this report.It's all finished now. We start over.David Bartush is one of dozens of homeowners on Emma Avenue to return to find there's nothing left. He was at home when the fire started and he did what he could to defend his house but he was forced to flee.Come through that quick. All I got was the dog out, just me and the dog were here. Just me and the dog and we went. By the time we left there was, you know, it was hopeless. The house next door was on fire. They'd already burned out the car over there was burnt out. So we just jumped in the car and Wen. Just down the road Michael and Julie Magennis lost their house when the fire storm hit. Their 17-year-old son was home alone.He said he was actually in the house when they waterbombed. So by the time he got out the roof was on fire and he just got in the car and left. So everything, you know, just scanning every room in my mind of what was in there. Nothing. No keepsakes.The Magennis family has lived here for 10 years, this was their dream home. They designed it themselves and they working on it and they were ready for a bushfire emergency. They even had their photographs packed in a suitcase ready to go but it all happened so quickly yesterday they weren't able to save anything.And this is all that remains of Brett and Leila Thompson's first home. The young couple moved to the Blue Mountains just 4 months ago. They too have lost everything.What do you guys just
do now? Good question.We're just figuring out places to stay and we've got a lot of people who are helping us and so yeah, it's just surreal sort of right now so we'll just go slow and, yeah, we're just really thankful for everyone's help and what they've done.In friends,
this tight-knit compunt friends, family and neighbours are struggling
are pitching in to help. Locals are struggling to understand how the blaze took hold so quickly and the emotional strain is taking a toll.No-one these
knew how these fires came into these streets. You just think it could have been my house, you know, it could have been anyone's house. It just makes you feel like it could have been you, it could have been us.And with fire fighters Blue Mountains
still on alert, many in the Blue Mountains are bracing for Service says there
more to come.The Rural Fire Service says there are still a number of fires burning across have
the State. Emergency warnings have been in place for much of the day but the final one at Springwood in the Blue Mountains was lifted about 3 hours ago. That's about 5pm Australian eastern time. At the moment there are watch and act alerts in place for Hank Street in Port Stephens:

Among local Blue Mountains residents to lose their homes yesterday was David Brown, he's the principal of Glenbrook Public School. He was on a school camp in Katoomba so only arrived home today to find his home in Winmalee completely destroyed. David Brown joins us now on the phone. David Brown, I'm terribly sorry to hear of the loss of your home. Tell us, is there anything left at all? No, unfortunately not. That was the shock the whole house was completely taken, cars, both cars. I spods, yeah, my wife managed to get out with what she had on. I was fortunate as I had a bag of clothes that I took camping so I had a few clothes but no, everything's gone.So you returned home from camping today, had your wife been trying to reach you? Yes. Look, we've been in Actually when
communication all the time. Actually when the fire was starting we were talking to each other. I was at the stage where she had to leave very quickly, she was trying to do what she could do to obviously extinguish the fire. She had leave quickly. I had lost her for a while but then out she had been taken to Whitecross for protection. So everyone had been evacuated. I had been in communication with her, yes.We are actually seeing pick clurs of the Winmalee area as David is speaking with us. David, how long had you lived in your home? 25 years, it's our first receiving
home together.And are you receiving support at the moment? Look, they've been wonderful. My wife went up today and obviously entered her details and I they fixed her up with a mobile phone and obviously lots of friends and people from my school have been very helpful.Obviously, as you colleagues
mentioned, there are probably colleagues and also children at your school who were in similar situations. Is it difficult to put on a brave face at time? A little bit, very so, yes. I suppose when we're in the shock stage and once we go past that we'll work out what to do next. Fortunately for my community at Glenbrook fort nally they're not in this actual fire but they certainly have had a lot of parents who have been very sympathetic already and obviously my colleagues.And David, what are you plans? Are you thinking of remaining in Winmalee?Oh, yes, yes. Definitely. It's a lovely area. The Blue Mountains are beautiful. I suppose it's part of living in the bush area that these things happen bushfires, work in a strange way. We've been in 3 bushfires and managed to work around those quite well. But this one, the way it hit, the way it moved it was unexpected. It just caught everyone by surprise. I will certainly stay here until I finish doing my job.Indeed. Well principal of Glenbrook Public School, we wish you and your family all the best.Thank you fighters
very much.More than 2,000 fire fighters from across NSW are effort
now involved in the mammoth effort as well as fire fighters from other States and more officers from Victoria have been brought in too as reinforcements. The ABC's Martin Cuddihy has spent the day with crews in the Blue Mountains.It's back-breaking and dangerous work and explaining the efforts of his fire fighters, the RFS Commissioner was reduced to fighters in
tears.We've got the best fire fighters in the world. They are second to none.A new day saw bushfires again threatening homes as flames raged out of control.Vol fears from the Rural Fire Service worked through the smoke and heat to protect property and anxious families watch on as the danger burns closer.The wife and the kids are all ready to roll. If we have to go we have to go and lit
thes what we do.Fire fighters lit back burns to starve the fire of fuel and protect homes. Once this small section here is burnt we're looking about 100, 100 feet, that should be sufficient to stop it.Further up the street it was too much for some residents.The fieries metres just down the
have said there's a fire 150 metres just down the back of
the valley so we're basically just preparing for the worst and getting a few things, all of our essentials and basically preparing to evacuate, yeah.At about lunchtime the main fire had Springwood again flared up.Fire crews have managed to save 3 bush blocks just here but it's extremely difficult. Not only is the terrain very steep but the wind keeps changing spinning around making it difficult to know where the fire will spread to next.We got a warning a little while ago on a pager to say there was a wind change coming through, it was supposed to be coming through from the north-west.2, 3, 4, 5...Students at Springwood High School were made to leave just as happened yesterday, the children were taken to an evacuation centre. And two fire fighters were treated for burns as Sydney's Concord Hospital.These are ordinary people who on extraordinary days come together to support their community and to protect their fellow Australians. We are incredibly lucky to have them.And for those still on the ground the danger hasn't passed.The former NSW Rural Fire Service commissioner Phil Koperberg has been appointed bushfire recovery coordinator for the Blue Mountains area. He says he's going to establish an issues register first thing also says
tomorrow morning. Mr Koperberg also says the sort of weather conducive to the outbreak of fire appears to be occurring more often.The most prominent feature of what happened here yesterday was the time of year. Australia is prone to fires of this nature. Some are intense, some not so. But rarely do you see a fire of this intensity going through an area such as this so early in the bushfire season. We're only in October. The summer has not yet begun. So from that point of view and from the point of view that it's sped through the area with great velocity it was I think people like Shane Fitzsimmons, the Commissioner of the RFS, has done a magnificent job as they all have, are fearful that this is just the beginning of what could be an unparalleled fire season. The house count in the Blue Mountains could be as high as 200, who knows. It's certainly over 100. And it may well go considerably higher. There are fires all over the Blue Mountains as there are in many parts of this State and fire fighters from the Rural Fire Service and fire and rescue NSW, National Parks and others I think have got a long and arduous battle ahead of them. The recovery has to at least
commence immediately. There are at least 100 families who have been deprived of everything they've ever owned. Infrastructure has been severely damaged in terms of electricity poles and gas mains and water mains and so forth. Roads are damaged. The NSW Government is anxious to respond very quickly to the recovery effort and tomorrow morning first thing I propose establishing an issues register. I will be talking to everyone from tourist groups and associations to chambers of commerce to local government but more particularly and more importantly to the people here who have lost everything in the last 24 hours. The people who live in disaster-prone areas tend to become very resilient, not blase but resilient. For some, however, it is their first experience of such an event and they're a dazed. We will be establishing very quickly a one-stop shop. working
The welfare agencies are working very hard to provide comfort and resource to these people and we suggest strongly that they make contact with my office as early as the weekend all going well.That's Phil Koperberg. Well my colleague, ABC News presenter Jeremy Fernandez joins us now from the community of Winmalee in the lower Blue Mountains. Jeremy, what's the mood there tonight? Jane, things have certainly settled down for the night. What we saw today was people being allowed back to their homes, to their streets to survey the damage for the first time since those fires tore through here yesterday and there's been an eerie kind of silence when most people sort of standing around and looking. A lot of people that we saw today were just sifting through the wreckage of what was once their homes just kicking through rubble. That's
all that remains and a few brick walls here and there. Apart from that roofs have collapsed, floors have collapsed, vehicles completely destroyed. What we have behind me is just one of the homes
that you can see, just one of the homes that has been completely guttered. No-one's structure is
even been in there because the structure is so unstable. What darkness
you can't see is that in the darkness that surrounds this entire area is house after house after house that's been completely destroyed and yet in the middle of the neighbourhood you can find a house that's completely untouched. It just defies sense how the behaved during this fire storm yesterday.You've spoken to several residents who have lost their homes, what did they say about the speed of this emergency? That is the thing, the speed is what stuck out to these people. They say - one guy I spoke to said when the his
fires started spotting behind his back fence to the time it reached his house, 10 minutes, it would have travelled 30 metres up the gully and got as remarkably the
close as his back door, remarkably the house survived even though the flames were about 15 metres high. Up in the canopy of the trees. Incredible stories of, you know, homes being saved despite being the
surrounded by flames. They say the intensity of the heat was such that they just couldn't one
fight the flames. I spoke to one man who said he went his burning house to try to save a property, even though one room was burning and it was filling up with smoke but he had to eventually step back and accept that he couldn't save it burn
the house and then just watch front of
it burn to the ground right in homeless
front of him.Where are the homeless staying now? A lot of them have gone to friends, to family, a lot of the people I've spoken to certainly today have lived neighbourhood for decades. You know, they know the risks of the neighbourhood, they know that the bush had the potential to wreak this sort of hand though
devastation, to see it first hand though is quite something are
else. But tonight a lot of them are in evacuation centres, they're staying with friends and staying with family. And in terms of possessions a lot of them have lost everything. A lot didn't have time to go back and retrieve documents, photographs, the things that you would most prize in these circumstances because when fires went through yesterday, of course, it was a working day. A lot of these people were away and when they tried to and
come home there were roadblocks and they weren't allowed back in. So what they've got is pretty much the shirts on their backs and then the donations are what they're relying onto keep them going for the next few days.We spoke to someone like that a little earlier, he was the school principal, David that
Brown. One thing he did say was that he is still in a state of shock. What sort of regrets did the residents say they felt about losing their houses and property? You know, the people I've spoken to today are remarkably circumspect. It's things
one of the most surprising things in the circumstance is that, you know, I've asked them, you know, how do you feel about one of the things you can't attach too
lost. One guy said to me you can't attach too much value to the things that you've lost because they're just things and there was nothing you could do to save them. And, you know, while we were standing in front of his burnt out house he said I've got my health, I've got my life, I'm still here, we rebuild. It was the most remarkable stoicism in the face of everything confronting. They don't even know where to begin cleaning up let alone contemplating the future but they've certainly - the people I spoke to today are remarkably circumspect and the things they've lost. I want to talk you through some of the scale of the damage here. In the darkness the streetlights are all out. All we've got are some camera lights and light of the moon and that's all we can see and even the moon is an eerie shade of dark orange. But what we have here is, you know, destruction that goes for hundreds of metres. Behind these trees the fire tore up through the gully very, very quickly and so it's hopped over major roads, it's fallen off - embers have fallen off the canopy of the trees on the vehicles and look at this car here. This was, you know, just over 36 hours ago, a beautiful 2-door convertible. You can't even make out the tyres now. You can't recognise them. The engine is barely recognisable. The scale of destruction and the speed with which it happened is incredible. I've
Thankfully a lot of the people I've seen today, they were insured. So their insurance companies are reassuring them
that they will be covered for all the damage. However, you can imagine the scale of the hassle and the time it's going to take for these people to rebuild, to recollect, to you know, work out how to mediate the soil forget there are fuels and paints and plastics that have all melted into the ground. Shards of glass everywhere, burnt, twisted metal. There is to fathom
so much to do it's really hard picking up
to fathom where you would begin picking up from all of this.Jeremy Fernandes Winmalee, many thanks for your time.And let's speak now with ABC reporter Nick Dole for the latest fire situation as well Nick,
as updates on social media. you this
Nick, first of all good to see you this evening. How's the situation developing as nightfalls? Well the good news is, Jane, it's looking better. We now have 6 watch and act alerts so it means we no longer have emergency warnings which major
is a downgrade of all of those major fires. So some good news for RFS crews but the danger has not passed. The 6 watch and act warnings are current for the Mount Victoria fire, the Springwood fire area, the one including Winmalee, the State around Lithgow
Mine fire, that's the one around Lithgow and the Blue Mountains, the Heatherbrae fire at Port Stephens, the Balmoral fire in the Southern Highlands and the Ruttleys Road fire the NSW Central Coast and the Lake Macquarie area. Watch and potential
act is still a serious and potential threat. People are reminded that there's a heightened level of risk and they need to prepare and act right now to protect their home and their lives potentially. But certainly not the most severe level of risk. When it comes to some of the infrastructure around the roads there are much more roads open now but there are still some major road closures. Raymond Terrace, the Great Western Highway at Mount Victoria, there are various traffic diversions due to RFS crews trying to conduct operations there. The Hume Highway, there are severe delays around the Bargo area because one of two southbound lanes are now closed and at Picton Road that is closed as well. So some significant delays caused by those fires but the good news is they have been downgraded somewhat. Let's get to some of the photos and videos that through
people have been sending through on social media. Matt McDonald posted this video on Facebook with the caption "Coming out of the Clarence mine this afternoon". This was part of the State Mine fire near Lithgow which affected properties around Dargan and Clarence and headed east into the mountains. This next video is a time lapse, it to YouTube by the user. He took this over Wollongong Harbour of
and you can see that huge plume of smoke billowing over the escarpment there and blowing out to sea. That one was cause bd I the Southern Highlands fire which affected areas like Balmoral and Bargo and residents around Helensburg were at one stage told to be on alert for flying embers. The been
good news is that fire too has been downgraded. Let's look at some of the pictures people have been posting ABC's Mohammad Taha posted this picture from the Blue Mountains. The temp dhur was well and truly above the scale, it melted as you can see. Melissa tweeted this picture. It's taken from her sister's place near Budgewoi. That's of the fire on the Central Coast properties
that had been threatening properties around there. It's pretty spectacular picture.
Alex Morgan posted this to Facebook. The photographer was out and about Lithgow last night and he caught this picture of the flames around Lithgow. And the NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell has been touring fire-affected communities. He posted this picture of a burnt out sign at Yanderra in the Southern Highlands and you can see how black everything is We'll bring you more of those social media contributions throughout the night as Some regular updates will be monitoring those fires throughout the evening.Thank you very much, Nick Dole.Well losing your home in a bushfire is something no family should have to contemplate. Watching it burn down in front of you is almost unfathomable. But that's exactly what Adam with Schweinsberg had to do like so many others in the Blue Mountains, Adam knew the risks and he had his bushfire plan. He spoke with Jeremy Fernandez earlier today but when the fire raced over that hill you can see behind him that he barely even had time to plug in the hose.At what point did, in your mind, did you realise that you couldn't save the house? The point I realised I couldn't save it is when I went to my mump, my water pump and it was on a whole bunch of stuff in the shed, didn't have enough fuel in it, the fire brigade didn't have enough pressure in their hoses. By the time I got one of their water pumps down with their hoses to hose actual flames it was - it had already spread to the middle of the house and no water was going to stop that. It was finished. We were trying to do what we could to stem the flames but, you know, we were fighting a losing battle. We decided we were just wasting water so turned off the pumps and just stood back and I thought I might get some documentation.A difficult decision to make though.Absolutely, yes. The last room I was trying to save was the laundry down there. Nothing had burnt through the roof was still on it, the sides were still OK because I had a fishtank in there with some really nice fish which I would have liked to have saved so I was spraying the hose through the window into the laundry and I was wetting down the other wall on that side and going through the kitchen window side
wetting down the wall on this side just to try to save thattam with the big fire hose, plenty of water getting in there but it was always going to be a losing battle.And so you stood back and just - did you watch the house cave in on itself? At that point I got a call from my mum who was up on Hawkesbury Road up here and she's not feeling well, as you can imagine, she was getting some chest pains, I think really stressed out from the whole ordeal. So I drove her down to the hospital, down to Nepean hospital, I had to go through Richmond and up through the Northern Road because all the roads down there are blocked and then I came straight back here again but by the time I got back to Winmalee, got back to Hawkesbury Road the police had blocked that off and they weren't letting people walk through. I just had to sit out the roadblock for probably five
another four hours. Maybe even back here
five hours and then when I got back here it's exactly how you see it, just a little smoulders bits here and there.What What are
of valuables have you lost? What are the things you will most miss? I did like my motorbike. You know, we just renovated the kitchen, it was a pretty amazing kitchen. Yeah, just, oh, all my personal possessions that I've been collecting over my whole life, you know. Everything was in here. Just completely refurbished the lounge with a full new home theatre system. Only had that for six months. Terrible shame.Did you have time to save things? It must have been quite difficult to decide where to go first? It was, yes. I came through the sliding door here. I was for
actually looking for my keys for the motorbike and I - they were on those bricks just there because between the two staircases I couldn't see anything, I couldn't breathe, smoke,
it was just so thick with smoke, so I'm fumbling around for the keys, I found the laptop computer so I grabbed that and took it out instead.You plan to come back or does this make you rethink in?
the environment that you live be
in? Yeah, it's always going to be risky living here. We've known that forever. I do plan on coming back, of course. The house, the new house will be definitely much more - it will into it
have a lot of failsafes built into it like sprinklers and fireproof materials. So it should be a lot safer.Well let's have a look at tomorrow's weather now starting with the Here's
fire-affected areas of NSW. Here's Graham Creed.In the wake of yesterday's cool change we've had much better conditions across NSW for fire fighters. In fact we have widespread frosts across the taxpayerland and we've seen mostly clear skies but generally light winds underneath the high pressure system. We're going to see it change as we move through the weekend. Tomorrow we're looking at close to average temperatures across most of the State but we will start to see a more northerly wind developing. That's in association with a high sitting out through New Zealand and an moving into
approaching trough that's moving into SA. Now these northerly winds to be that strong on Saturday, We
relatively light in most areas. We will see a sea breeze developing along the coastal that
fringe as well. It's on Sunday that there's a slight increase in those wind strengths and again it's north, northwesterlies to begin with northeasterly
and then we will see a fairly northeasterly sea breeze developing along the coast. That will cap the coastal temperatures but it will remain quite warm through the inland areas. Now this mass of cloud is in association with a NSW during
trough. It's expected to cross NSW during Tuesday at this stage, so that means on and also on Tuesday we're still looking at very warm temperatures across most of the State. And that's going to lead to the increasing fire dangers we've
across many areas. Now tomorrow dangers
we've got increasing fire of
dangers through western parts of Queensland, also northern SA with warm temperatures across many parts of the continent. The top stories we're following on ABC News. Emergency crews are continuing to watch the weather as the NSW bushfire crisis slowly begins to ease. The last of the emergency warnings was cancelled late this afternoon but fires continue to burn around the State. Fire fighters have been desperately battling blazes after milder conditions today allowed them to get on the front foot. Crews fear the return of hot conditions on Sunday. We'll see some of the fires reignite.Officially the death toll stands at 1 with a residents
number of fire fighters and residents also injured. A 63-year-old man has died at Lake Munmorah on the Central Coast. He was trying to protect his home. Additional fire fighters are coming from Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania.More than 80 properties have been officially
listed as destroyed but