NSW hearth authorities problem emergency warning for blaze in Belmont, south of Newcastle



The red glow of a bushfire silhouettes a line of trees close to a block of suburban homes.

The fire came within 200 metres of properties. (Keiron Pritchard, NSW RFS)

Belmont 2280

A bushfire burning in Belmont, south of Newcastle, has been downgraded from an emergency warning to a watch and act.

About authorities
Authority is the right to exercise power, which can be formalized by a state and exercised by way of judges, appointed executives of government, or the ecclesiastical or priestly appointed representatives of a God or other deities. Authority, in the sense of “authorization”, can also mean the right to complete an action or execute an order.
In government, authority is often used interchangeably with power. However, their meanings differ: while power is the ability to order or accomplish a goal or to influence others, authority refers to a claim of legitimacy, the justification and right to exercise that power. For example, while a mob may have the power to punish a criminal by beating or lynching, the rule of law indicates that only a court of law has the authority to determine and refer a criminal for punishment. In this sense, authority is a matter of not only the ability or power to make decisions, but the right to make these decisions and execute them with commensurate power. Appropriate authority is the basis of good government in the republican conception of government, which finds much of its theoretical origins in ancient Rome.

NSW fire authorities issue emergency warning for blaze in Belmont, south of Newcastle

About emergency
An emergency is a situation that poses an immediate risk to health, life, property, or environment. Most emergencies require urgent intervention to prevent a worsening of the situation, although in some situations, mitigation may not be possible and agencies may only be able to offer palliative care for the aftermath.
While some emergencies are self-evident (such as a natural disaster that threatens many lives), many smaller incidents require that an observer (or affected party) decide whether it qualifies as an emergency.
The precise definition of an emergency, the agencies involved and the procedures used, vary by jurisdiction, and this is usually set by the government, whose agencies (emergency services) are responsible for emergency planning and management.

  • The fire, which has now been downgraded, was pushed by strong southerly winds
  • Earlier, residents were told it was too late to leave their homes
  • Photos showed the sky glowing red as smoke billowed above nearby houses

The blaze came within 200 metres of properties east of Merleview Street.

The NSW Rural Fire Service said the threat to homes had eased as conditions improved across the fireground.

NSW fire authorities issue emergency warning for blaze in Belmont, south of Newcastle

It said firefighters would continue to provide property protection and undertake backburning where required.

The fire, which started on Thursday evening in the wetlands, was being pushed by strong southerly winds.

The RFS warned that embers could be blown up to four kilometres ahead of the fire, creating spot fires that could move quickly and in different directions.

A fire on the horizon.

This photo was taken from Cobbin Parade. (Supplied: Kylie M Bridge)

Nearby resident Lauren Eather said embers were falling from the sky almost 2 kilometres away from the flames.

“The air is super thick with smoke, even in our house,” Ms Eather said.

“Burnt leaves falling all over our yard. We have hosed all our gutters and urged our neighbours, too, as we are fearful of embers.

“The wind is fierce up here — [we are] watching the alerts closely.”

Residents in nearby towns took to Facebook and offered their homes as shelter for those fleeing.

“We are close by in Jewells, have heaps of room if anyone needs to leave but wants to stay nearby. Take care everyone,” one wrote.

Photos of the blaze showed the sky glowing red as smoke billowed above nearby houses.

A fire behind a building at night.

The fire is seen behind Belmont Christian College. (Supplied: Tania Richards)

“It’s really loud with sirens and there is a hell of a lot of smoke,” nearby resident Kieran Vane said.

“I can still see an intense glow from my house.”

Pat Moore said she could see the fire charge towards properties from her home atop the hill at Belmont North.

“The flames are really high, rising above the houses,” Ms Moore said.

“Down on the flats they are just two blocks away from homes.

“The fire seems to have moved towards the ocean a little now so I think we are safe here for the moment.”

The Pacific Highway is affected by smoke in both directions and drivers have been warned to slow down.