AP

Sydney New Year’s fireworks to go ahead despite wildfires

Dec 30, 2019, 5:27 AM
fire...
FILE - In this Jan. 1, 2017, file photo, fireworks explode over the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge as New Year's celebrations are underway in Sydney. Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, Sydney's iconic New Year's Eve fireworks will go ahead despite the wildfire crisis to show the world "Australia’s resiliency.“ Authorities meanwhile braced for conditions to deteriorate with high temperatures. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File)
(AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File)

PERTH, Australia (AP) — Sydney’s iconic New Year’s Eve fireworks will go ahead despite the wildfire crisis to show the world Australia’s resiliency, the prime minister said, while authorities on Sunday braced for conditions to deteriorate with high temperatures.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison also announced financial support for some volunteer firefighters in New South Wales, the state worst hit by wildfires ravaging the nation.

“The world looks at Sydney every single year and they look at our vibrancy, they look at our passion, they look at our success,” he said. “In the midst of the challenges that we face, subject to the safety considerations, I can think of no better time to express to the world just how optimistic and positive we are as a country.”

The City of Sydney Council gave the green light although fire authorities warned that the fireworks could be canceled if catastrophic conditions are declared.

Morrison said that eligible volunteer firefighters will receive 300 Australian dollars ($209) a day, up to AU$6,000 ($4,190) in total, if called out to battle blazes for more than 10 days. The compensation focused on people who are self-employed or work for small and medium businesses.

“The early and prolonged nature of this fire season has made a call beyond what is typically made on our volunteer firefighters,” he said.

Morrison, who has been under pressure since taking a much criticized family vacation to Hawaii during the wildfire crisis, announced last week that volunteer firefighters from the federal public sector will receive paid leave entitlements.

The opposition Labor party has been pressing the government to consider widespread compensation for volunteer firefighters.

“A lot of everyone’s stunned, a lot of time away from work,” said Sean Warren, a volunteer firefighter for about seven years. “A lot of people are using up their annual leave as well. A lot of people are just missing their families … they’ve skipped Christmas with their families and their grandchildren. So yeah, it’s a wide extreme of sacrifice that people have been putting in.”

Morrison said the compensation was necessary so that the New South Wales fires commissioner is in a position to continue to call out the volunteer force.

The program is expected to cost AU$50 million ($34.9 million) but will be uncapped with the first AU$10 million ($6.9 million) being made available next month. Morrison said it would be offered to other states and territories requesting help.

Wildfires have also flared in Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia.

New South Wales, the country’s most populous state, has received the brunt of the wildfire catastrophe, which has killed nine people nationwide and razed more than 1,000 homes in the past few months.

High temperatures in the country’s east are expected until the new year. Sydney’s western suburbs were set to hit 41 degrees Celsius (106 Fahrenheit) Sunday before peaking at 44 C (111 F) on Tuesday.

Fire danger in Sydney and northern New South Wales is currently at very high.

New South Wales Rural Fire Services Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said 85 fires were still burning across the state with almost half of them not contained.

“We’ve got some deteriorating weather conditions over the coming days, particularly Monday and worsening through to Tuesday,” he said.

An emergency warning was issued Sunday for Victoria’s east as conditions worsen. Melbourne, the state’s capital, was set to reach 43 C (109 F) on Monday.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

AP

quit their jobs...
PAUL WISEMAN AP Economics Writer

US added a strong 517,000 jobs in January despite Fed hikes

The Fed is aiming to achieve a "soft landing" — a pullback in the economy that is enough to tame high inflation without triggering recession.
1 day ago
Thousands of fraudulent nursing diplomas  were dispersed in Florida. (Canva)...
Associated Press via Miami Herald

Fake nursing diploma scheme in Florida; 25 arrested

The defendants each face up to 20 years in prison.
2 days ago
Microsoft is cutting 10,000 workers, almost 5% of its workforce, in response to "macroeconomic cond...
MATT O'BRIEN, Associated Press

Job cuts in tech sector spread, Microsoft lays off 10,000

Microsoft said in a regulatory filing Wednesday that had just notified employees of the layoffs, some of which begin immediately.
17 days ago
exxon mobil sign pictured...
SETH BORENSTEIN and CATHY BUSSEWITZ Associated Press

Study: Exxon Mobil accurately predicted warming since 1970s

Exxon said its understanding of climate change evolved over the years and that critics are misunderstanding its earlier research.
23 days ago
FILE - Protesters, supporters of Brazil's former President Jair Bolsonaro, stand on the roof of the...
The Associated Press

Brazil and Jan. 6 in US: Parallel attacks, but not identical

RIO DE JANIERO, Brazil — Enraged protesters broke into government buildings that are the very symbol of their country’s democracy. Driven by conspiracy theories about their candidate’s loss in the last election, they smashed windows, sifted through the desks of lawmakers and trashed the highest offices in the land in a rampage that lasted hours […]
25 days ago
President Joe Biden pictured...
ZEKE MILLER AP White House Correspondent

DOJ reviewing potentially classified docs at Biden center

Special counsel to the president Richard Sauber said “a small number of documents with classified markings” were discovered at the offices of the Penn Biden Center.
26 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Sydney New Year’s fireworks to go ahead despite wildfires