Sydney bushfire: State of emergency declared

Raging bushfire traps residents in their homes on the outskirts of Sydney

Residents in Sandy Point, Pleasure Point, Voyager Point, Alfords Point, Barden Ridge, Illawong, Menai and Bangor are still advised to keep a close eye on the situation and activate their bushfire survival plans if conditions change.

"They've been assisting the firefighters on the ground in that Heathcote Road area who will be doing what they can as the evening progresses to bring that fire under control".

Waterbombers were on the scene throughout the afternoon, however windy conditions are hampering firefighters's efforts. "There were reported gusts of about 60 kilometres an hour so they'll be reduced", he said yesterday.

Overnight firefighters backburned along Heathcote Road near Pleasure Point as well as parts of the Holsworthy military base and, on Monday morning, crews were working to slow the spread of the fire.

Many residents in Menai made a decision to remain at their homes and were kept busy fighting ember attacks.

Embers posed a serious threat to homes on Saturday night. Residents in these areas should shelter in place.

The fire, which began on Saturday afternoon and may have been deliberately lit, was fanned by strong winds on Sunday and approached suburban streets.

"Most of those houses that burnt down were not from the fire front, it was from a spot fire or from a burning ember catching on fire on somebody's roof."

The fire - which has burned 1000 hectares - resulted in hundreds of people leaving their homes on Saturday evening with flames nearly reaching properties at Holsworthy and Wattle Grove and spot fires later threatening Sutherland and Menai.

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On Sunday, more than 500 firefighters in nearly 100 fire trucks, along with 15 aircraft, battled the blaze throughout the day.

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.

"There is plenty of work ahead", the commissioner said.

"Waterbombing aircraft have been utilised throughout the afternoon while it has been light and they've been able to do so".

"As we say all the time, no one tolerates this in the community".

Greg Allan from the NSW RFS said that was where resources were being focussed.

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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