The Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons wrote to Premier Gladys Berejiklian requesting she declare a State of Emergency under Section 33 of the State of Emergency and Rescue Management Act. The declaration announced today will be in force for seven days from tomorrow.
“Declaring this State of Emergency is vital to the safety of communities in NSW as we face the most devastating bushfire season in living memory,” Ms Berejiklian said.
A State of Emergency declaration enables certain powers to be exercised by the RFS Commissioner. These include the power to:
- Direct any government agency to conduct or refrain from conducting its functions;
- Control and coordinate the allocation of government resources;
- Evacuate people from property within the declared area;
- Close roads and thoroughfares to traffic;
- Pull down or shore up infrastructure at risk of collapse;
- Order the shutdown of essential utilities in the declared area including electricity, gas, oil, water; and
- Enter or take possession of property in the course of the emergency response.
An initial State of Emergency was declared on 11 November and a second was declared on 19 December when NSW was faced with dangerous fire conditions.
Mr Roberts said the efforts of hard working firefighters are to be commended as they face these challenging conditions after many have been fighting fires for months.
“The entire State has a huge level of gratitude for the thousands of firefighters on the frontline putting themselves on the front line of the fires to protect life and property,” Mr Roberts said.
“We have had three valiant volunteer firefighters make the ultimate sacrifice to protect their communities, and thousands more are on the ground day after day to continue their legacy. The work they are so committed to right now will never be forgotten.”