Sydney’s annual New Years Eve fireworks spectacular will go ahead tonight.
Millions of revellers will flock to watch the sky above Sydney Harbour light up at midnight, with the City Of Sydney granted an exemption from today’s total fire ban by the NSW Rural Fire Service.
Other nearby areas haven’t been so lucky. 10 regions across New South Wales and the ACT have been hit with total fire bans today courtesy of the hot & dry conditions, leading the annual NYE fireworks displays in nearby Parramatta, Liverpool, Wollongong, Campbelltown, Rowland Reserve, Bayview on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Maitland (near Newcastle), Canberra and more to get the axe.
“Council was not granted an exemption to proceed with its fireworks display due to the total fire ban in place and a range of associated risks including: extreme temperatures; smoke, dust and poor air quality; extremely dry conditions at Parramatta Park; and limited resources to manage potential fires locally due to fires across the state,” Parramatta’s Lord Mayor Bob Dwyer said.
“In addition, the Bureau of Meteorology has forecast high winds with a southerly change on New Year’s Eve, which pose too big a risk to the health and safety of our community.”
He added that the difficult decision was made in consultation with the RFS, the weather bureau and other state government agencies.
“Council is making a $10,000 donation to the NSW Rural Fire Service to support their fantastic work. I encourage members of our community to do what they can to support our state’s firefighters at this challenging time,” he said.
Elsewhere, following consultation with ticket holders (via poll) and the event stakeholders, Sydney’s NYE in the Park has also cancelled its midnight fireworks display in 2019.
“Furthermore, the festival will be pledging the financial resources from the fireworks cancellation to the NSW Rural Fire Service in support their continued heroic efforts in keeping us all safe,” organisers said in a statement.
It comes after NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro yesterday broke ranks with the state government and called for the Sydney fireworks to be binned as well.
“The risk is too high and we must respect our exhausted RFS volunteers. If regional areas have had fireworks banned, then let’s not have two classes of citizens. We’re all in this crisis together,” he tweeted.
It flew in the face of Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s stance, which was that the fireworks were a show of resilience in the face of the bushfires.
Meanwhile, City of Sydney Mayor Clover Moore said her council would be using the “huge reach” of Sydney’s NYE celebrations to raise money for those affected by the disaster.
Due to today’s total fire bans, operators hoping to set off fireworks need to apply for an official exemption.
You can check your local council’s social media for updates.
Very High to Extreme fire danger is forecast across parts NSW tomorrow , 11 areas have been declared under Total Fire Ban.
Operators wishing to undertake fireworks displays in an area where a Total Fire Ban has been declared MUST apply for an exemption (https://t.co/Ws3U9yvKld) pic.twitter.com/7meX0zAaiV
— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) December 30, 2019