- At least three people have died in bushfires in NSW
- About 30 people are injured
- The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment and the Disaster Recovery Allowance are available for people who have been impacted
- At least 150 homes destroyed, the figure is expected to rise
- Seventy-two fires burning across the state, 36 not under control
- Conditions expected to worsen on Tuesday
- Firefighters are currently using favourable conditions to try and control the fires already burning
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian have learnt first hand the difficulties firefighters are facing trying to tackle the raging fires in the north of the state.
They received a briefing on the unprecedented firestorms at the Mid-North Coast Fire Control Centre in Wauchope on Sunday, where they were told firefighters have found it hard to contain and access some fire areas.
Mr Morrison was heckled during the briefing by a climate change protester.
“Climate change is real, can’t you see,” the man yelled, before being escorted out of the building.
Natural Disaster and Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud warned the fires in NSW and Queensland could get worse on Tuesday.
The federal government has activated financial support payments for those hit by the fires.
The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment and the Disaster Recovery Allowance are now available.
Mr Littleproud said on Sunday the Disaster Recovery Payment would immediately put cash into the pockets of those in need.
“This provides $1000 for eligible adults and $400 for eligible children,” he said in a statement.
“The payment is available to people whose homes has been severely damaged or destroyed, who have been seriously injured or who have lost a family member in the fires.
“This is cash in the hand to give families dignity and help them recover from the fires.
Three deaths have already been confirmed in the fires and there are fears the number could rise.
At least 150 homes have been destroyed by the fires although this number is likely to climb as detailed assessments begin.
NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons says assessment teams are bracing themselves for “considerable losses”.
“There are communities and fire grounds where we are expecting to tally up considerable losses of homes and other properties,” Mr Fitzsimmons said.
“A number of our own fire stations have been destroyed.”
Fire assessment teams would comb through devastated areas over the coming days, Mr Fitzsimmons said.
“The more forensic process of getting in and doing the detailed assessments will come over coming days.
“Clearly, from what we are seeing, and we do not have indicative assessments from all these fire grounds yet, but estimates are at least 150.”
Three people were confirmed dead on Saturday evening.
Wytaliba resident Vivian Chaplain, 69, was named as one of the victims.
Ms Chaplain was treated for burns before being transferred to a Sydney hospital where she later died, the state’s rural fire service said on Saturday.
The body of Julie Fletcher, 63, was found in a burnt-out home in North Taree, while George Nole’s body was found in a burnt-out car in Glen Innes.
A team of volunteer firefighters from the Tasmanian Fire Service are scheduled to arrive in NSW to help local firefighters battle the blazes.