'Catastrophic' Fire Danger Looms In NSW

Hottest Feb day ever?

10 February 2017

Image: Getty Images

NSW could experience its hottest February day on record this weekend with emergency services staying on high alert for catastrophic fire conditions.

A state-wide total fire ban has been declared for Saturday as the mercury soars past 40C.

'If you're a little bit inland from the coast in Sydney or the Hunter district, you'll experience probably mid-40s,' senior forecaster at the Bureau of Meteorology Andrew Haigh told AAP.

'That goes for anywhere west of the ranges as well'.

The state's northwest will cop the brunt of the extreme heat with Wilcannia, Ivanhoe, Bourke and Menindee forecast to reach 47C on Saturday.

In the Hunter region, Singleton and Cessnock are predicted to reach 46C and 43C on Sunday.

The Rural Fire Service has warned of a potential 'catastrophic' fire danger warning on Sunday largely around the Hunter, from the coast, mid-north coast, out through the Central Tablelands, the top end of the greater Sydney region and out to the central west.

The RFS has urged residents to have their bushfire survival plans ready.

The sizzling conditions will also continue to push the state's energy network to limit with demand for power among the highest on record.

NSW managed to dodge widespread power blackouts on Friday despite demand reaching unprecedented levels as temperatures reached 45C in western Sydney and 47.4C in the western Riverina town of Hay.

The stress on the system will persist over the weekend, the Australian Market Energy Operator says, and it's warned residents to be mindful of their electricity use.

Sydney will get no relief over the weekend with the city forecast to reach 39C on Saturday, and the west to reach the mid-40s.

The state's Forestry Corporation has closed all forests between Sydney and Kempsey in the state's north, along with forests in the Pilliga region and the Talleganda State Forest on the Southern Tablelands.

Saturday's Randwick races have been postponed to Monday due to concerns about the welfare of horses and riders.

Newcastle's A-League soccer match against Melbourne Victory has also been postponed until Monday, while Football NSW has cancelled all Saturday trial games for under-18s and below and shifted under-20s and first grade trials to evening start times.

NSW's three NRL trial matches will however go ahead on Saturday evening, as will the Sheffield Shield clash between NSW and Queensland. Cricket NSW has cancelled all grades of Premier Cricket, while most school and children's sport has been cancelled.

With many people heading to waterways to cool off in the heat, parents are being urged to keep an eye on children following a tragic summer of drownings.

Health experts are reminding people to stay hydrated, wear sunscreen and look out for people most at risk, while NSW clubs say they will provide water and respite for vulnerable people.


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