'Highly suspicious': Sydney bushfire remains out of control

Erika Holt
April 16, 2018

A bushfire that's burned nearly 1000ha in Sydney's southwest remains out of control but has been downgraded as conditions ease and crews begin back- burning operations.

Early this morning the threat level decreased to 'watch and act, ' and then again to 'advice, ' but firefighters have urged locals to remain vigilant and have a bush fire survival plan in place.

"We have had reports of impact on properties in west Menai and Barden Ridge but our crews at the moment are exclusively focused on fighting the fire, " Allan said Sunday evening.

ABC Sydney says part of the line was later closed.

Many property owners stayed to protect their homes from spot fires - luckily no homes or lives were lost.

"Firefighters are in these areas and are ready to undertake property protection if required".

The fire, which started at about 2.30pm on Saturday, has blackened more than 2400 hectares and continues to burn towards Barden Ridge.

RFS spokesperson Greg Allan told the AAP that it's believed that believed that some houses have been damaged.

"We have had reports of impact on properties in west Menai and Barden Ridge but our crews at the moment are exclusively focused on fighting the fire", he told AAP in the evening.

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"Residents in Illawong, Bangor and Picnic Point are experiencing ember attack and should continue to monitor for any new spot fires in the affected areas".

Police believe the fire may have been lit on goal and are appealing for witnesses to contact them.

NSW Police on Sunday evening announced a task force had been set up to investigate whether the fire, which began in the vicinity of Leacocks Reserve in Casula, was deliberately lit.

While lower wind conditions are expected to help with containing the fire, RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers warned that the high temperatures remain an issue.

New South Wales fire crews spent a second long night taking advantage of cooler conditions to back burn and protect homes in the Holsworthy area.

"Still quite a hard day ahead (on Monday)", Rogers told the Nine Network.

"I think it's fair to say that it is highly suspicious, in the absence of any other cause like lightning", he said.

The RFS is now advising residents in Pleasure Point, Sandy Point, Alfords Point, Barden Ridge, Voyager Point, Illawong, Menai & Bangor to "remain vigilant throughout the day and keep themselves up to date by checking the NSW RFS website".

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