Extreme fire threat for New Year's Eve as temperatures set to tip 40C

Extreme heat will bear down on Australia's east coast for New Year’s Eve and Day as bushfires continue to burn out of control across several states.

New Year’s Eve is going to be particularly hot in NSW. Sydney will reach 33 degrees on December 31 with a late gusty change, while the air pollution in the city’s southwest remaining at a hazardous level.

Temperatures are forecast to climb past 40C in western Sydney and parts of regional NSW on Tuesday.

Picture of what Tuesday is forecast to look like at 5pm AEST.
A map showing the temperatures forecast across Australia on New Year's Eve at 5pm (AEST). Source: Bureau of Meteorology

But on New Year’s Day, Sydney will drop down to 25 degrees, with western suburbs set to endure temperatures in the low 30s.

In NSW, more than 900 homes have been destroyed by bushfires, but that number is expected to increase with rising temperatures and dry winds forecast to peak on New Year's Eve.

Sydney will likely fall short of catastrophic fire-danger levels for New Year's Eve, but areas around Goulburn, which is tipped to reach 37 degrees tomorrow may not be so lucky, according to forecasters, who say the wind is going to be the strongest there.

Severe fire danger ratings are in place on Monday for the southern Riverina, southern slopes, Monaro alpine region, southern ranges and far south coast.

Total fire bans are also in place for large chunks of eastern and southern NSW.

BOM NSW manager Jane Golding said the heat over inland areas would on Tuesday move eastward towards coastal areas.

She said Greater Sydney and areas such as Illawarra-Shoalhaven, southern ranges and the central ranges would experience severe to extreme fire risks.

On Monday, the NSW deputy premier called for Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display to be cancelled.

More than 250,000 people have signed a petition in favour of the fireworks being cancelled, and the funding given to the drought and bushfire relief.

Amid disastrous conditions, Parramatta, Armidale and Huskisson are among suburban and regional councils that have cancelled or postponed their fireworks displays due to elevated fire risks.

"The safety of our community and general public is important to us and it was decided that the event could not proceed without compromising this safety," the City of Parramatta said on Facebook on Monday afternoon.

Canberra can expect a top of 38 degrees on New Year’s Eve, with a possible storm, and an extreme risk of fires. The temperature will drop to 34 degrees to mark the first day of 2020.

Melbourne’s NYE heat relief

Bushfires across swathes of Australia continue to rage amid scorching temperatures and as residents in Victoria's far east are told it's too late to flee.

Temperatures soared into the 40s across Victoria on Monday, with a total fire ban in place across the state and extreme fire danger ratings in most regions.

Homes and lives are under threat and as of 5.15pm, 11 emergency warnings issued for out-of-control blazes in Victoria's far east and northeast as of 3:30pm (local time) on Monday. For up-to-date information, visit the Vic Emergency website.

An emergency warning, the highest possible alert, was issued for a blaze west of Goongerah, in East Gippsland, on Monday afternoon and an evacuation order remains in place.

A CFA firefighter is seen in burnout land near Mount Glasgow, Victoria, on Thursday.
A Victorian CFA firefighter is seen in burnout land near Mount Glasgow, Victoria. Source: AAP Image/James Ross

While Melbourne is sweltering in 43-degree heat on Monday, temperatures are set to drop on Tuesday to 21 degrees and get back up to 25 on New Year’s Day.

Northern Victoria will still have temperatures in the low 30s on New Year’s Eve and Day.

Organisers of New Year's Eve events across East Gippsland have cancelled the fireworks displays – but not other activities – at Nicholson River, Metung, Paynesville foreshore and Lakes Entrance.

Revellers at Lorne’s leg of the Falls Festival were asked to pack up and leave the campsite before Monday morning after the annual New Year’s Eve bash was cancelled due to extreme weather conditions.

Cool change coming for South Australia

In South Australia, firefighters are facing catastrophic conditions in the Adelaide Hills, through the mid-north and across to Yorke Peninsula.

Adelaide hit 41.9 degrees at midday on Monday and firefighters are particularly worried about the potential for breakouts in the blaze burning in the Adelaide Hills.

Conditions will ease on Australia's east coast come New Year's Day at 5pm (AEST). A weather map shows most of Australia will have sweltering temperatures.
Conditions will ease on Australia's east coast come New Year's Day at 5pm (AEST). Source: Bureau of Meteorology

There are also concerns for a fire on Kangaroo Island which continues to smoulder.

But it was the change in the afternoon that was the cause of most concern, with strong and shifting winds set to heighten the risk of bushfires spreading.

The CFS was particularly worried about the potential for breakouts from the Adelaide Hills fire, and from others burning on the Coorong, southeast of Adelaide, near Padthaway in the mid-north and near Kimba on Eyre Peninsula.

Adelaide is expected to reach 25 degrees on New Year’s Eve and 27 degrees on the first day of 2020.

New Year’s in Western Australia, Tasmania and Northern Territory

A watch-and-act alert is in place for two fires in remote parts of Western Australia – at the Stirling Range National Park and Higginsville mine site in the state's south.

Exmouth Gulf Coast and Gascoyne Coast in Western Australia both have severe fire danger ratings, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

In Tasmania, residents are urged to remain on high alert as scorching temperatures combined with forecast thunderstorms and winds increase fire risk.

Meanwhile Darwin is expected to reach 34 degrees on the December 31 and January 1, with no extreme or severe fire risks.

With AAP

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