Sydney bushfire deemed 'highly suspicious' as threat eases

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the hot weather was a matter of great concern

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the hot weather was a matter of great concern

The RFS cautioned that while the threat had eased, residents in the areas of Voyager Point, Pleasure Point, Sandy Point, Alfords Point, Barden Ridge, Illawong, Menai and Bangor should continue to monitor the situation and be prepared to activate bushfire survival plans should conditions change.

So far no homes have been lost though there has been some property damage, Mr Fitzsimmons said.

If a huge bushfire in Sydney's southwest on the weekend was deliberately lit, as authorities suspect, it's a "sickening and reprehensible" act of arson, the NSW Rural Fire Service commissioner says.

RFS spokesman Greg Allan said powerful wind gusts on Sunday created challenging conditions for firefighters, but the forecast for today was a definite improvement.

Authorities said wind speeds were not as severe on Monday, making it easier to battle the blaze.

Some remembered awful bushfires in the 1990s when homes were destroyed, and were determined to stay and extinguish embers or spot fires as they broke out.

Major roads separating bushland and residences were cut off in some areas, and fire services used helicopters to dump water over key points.

Asked about that possibility, the premier said: "The community would deem it absolutely unforgivable if this fire was deliberately lit".


The Holsworthy 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.

The blaze was downgraded from watch-and-act to advice about 2am on Monday.

"They do believe that temperature-wise and condition-wise, the worst part's behind them".

Police are now investigating the source of the fire, which is being treated as "suspicious".

"We're certainly looking to maximise the amount of time we have them here".

The fire has burned almost 2,500 hectares of land, the RFS said.

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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