The suburbs most at risk of bushfire as Sydney remains on high alert

The military is on standby as Australia faces an unprecedented fire threat on Tuesday - and residents in the nation’s largest city are among those in the firing line.

More than 600 schools are closed across NSW today with a number of Sydney suburbs warned about the potential fire danger.

Suburbs near bushland are the most at risk, authorities have warned. And there’s no shortage of them.

According to data analysis from a Sydney-based risk management consultancy firm, there are more than 100,000 homes in the Sydney basin alone that are within 100 metres of bushland.

The data, supplied to the Sydney Morning Herald, found that more than 31,500 homes in Sydney’s far northern suburbs from Berowra, Hornsby and Belrose and south to suburbs including Lane Cove were at risk.

Turramurra, southeast of Hornsby on the north shore, was shown to have among the most homes nestled in close proximity to bushland with some 4500 residences.

The Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge with an orange hue at dawn.
The sun rises behind the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge as winds blow smoke from bushfires over the CBD in Sydney on Tuesday. Source: Steven Saphore/AAP

Meanwhile to the south of the city in the Sutherland Shire, almost 9000 homes in Engadine and Menai are also in high-risk areas, according to the Risk Frontiers firm.

Very few inner city suburbs including the inner west, the eastern suburbs and Sydney’s west are close to bushland, and thus are considered to be much less at risk.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian reminded those living near bushland to be alert and responsive to messages from authorities today.

“Please make sure you heed the messages no matter where you are, whether you are in our regions, whether you are in metropolitan areas,” she said Tuesday morning.

“Anywhere near bushland is at threat today.”

According to the SMH, the analysis showed Springwood in the Blue Mountains - among the areas ravaged by fire in 2013 - also had 6500 houses located within risky distances of bush.

Along the NSW central coast, suburbs around Gosford were shown to have some 14,275 homes in high-risk areas.

A map showing the extent of extreme and catastrophic fire danger across NSW on Tuesday. A statewide total fire ban remains in force today. Source: NSW Fire and Rescue
A statewide total fire ban remains in force today. Source: NSW Fire and Rescue

“Under today's weather forecast, fires on the north coast will spread quickly and impact on people and properties,” NSW Fire and Rescue said Tuesday morning.

“Avoid bushland areas,” it warned. “Safer locations may include built up areas away from bushland.”

Residents in bushland areas of Sydney, the Hunter and the Illawarra-Shoalhaven were told Monday to be prepared to leave before their homes were threatened.

“My advice is to not be there - leaving early is the safest option,” NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.

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