Emergency warning issued as bushfire rips through Holsworthy military base

| 15.04,18. 06:54 AM |

Emergency warning issued as bushfire rips through Holsworthy military base

Photo: The bushfire closed part of Sydney's airport train line. (Twitter: @T8SydneyTrains)

Photo: Smoke from the bushfire towers over Sydney's skyline. (Twitter: @SMCoates)

Firefighters spent a long night battling an out-of-control blaze in Sydney's south-west which burnt through a major military base and threatened homes in several suburbs

The New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) has told people in the suburbs of Alfords Point and Sandy Point that it is "too late to leave".

Those remaining in the Wattle Grove community, the Holsworthy military complex, Voyager Point, Menai, Barden Ridge and Pleasure Point have been told to continuing to shelter in place and take advice from fire fighters on the ground.

Residents in Illawong, Bangor, Voyager Point and Picnic Point are experiencing ember attacks and have been told they should implement their bush fire survival plan.

The fire is burning in a north-easterly direction.

The Department of Defence confirmed no buildings had been damaged at the Holsworthy army facility. All non-essential personnel were evacuated.

The NSW RFS said there were no reports of fatalities or homes being destroyed yet. The cause of the fire was unknown.

The blaze started on Saturday afternoon at Moorebank and burnt in a south-easterly direction through the Holsworthy army base and around Heathcote Road.

By the evening, most efforts to fight the blaze were focused around Heathcote Road, which links Holsworthy and the Royal National Park.

The road was a de facto last-line of defence for some residential areas, but the RFS announced at about 8:00pm that the fire had jumped it.

The blaze was burning through bushland too dense for crews to access, and a line of fire trucks four kilometres long had been positioned on Heathcote Road in an effort to stop it.

'There were sirens everywhere'

Emergency messages were sent to people in several areas on Saturday, and people in some suburbs were evacuated.

Jayden Smith, who lives in Holsworthy, said he hosed down his house and back fence when he got his text.

"I was just worried about the house and the family," he said.

"Earlier there was a lot more panic everywhere. There were sirens everywhere."

Earlier, aerial footage showed flames leaping through a forested area around Holsworthy, with thick smoke blanketing nearby suburbs and a suburban street at a near standstill as motorists tried to leave.

Sydney Trains closed the Airport Line between East Hills and Glenfield in the evening due to a grass fire at Casula, which is near where the fire started.

Waterbombers were on the scene throughout the afternoon, however windy conditions hampered the firefighters' efforts.

Heathcote Road was closed between Macarthur Drive and New Illawarra Road, and the NSW RFS said that was where resources were being focussed.

A command post for emergency services was set up at the Moorebank Sporting Complex.

It has been an unseasonably warm Autumn in the Harbour City, with a new April temperature record set on Monday and the mercury surpassing 31 degrees Celsius on Saturday in Holsworthy.


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