The catastrophic bushfires in Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) could lead to the cancellation of iconic Sydney fireworks on New Year, said an official. New South Wales fire commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said that if the fire service determines the fireworks to be too risky, it won’t be allowed. Though New Year's Eve fireworks across regional NSW have been cancelled, no such decision has been made for Sydney’s fireworks.
An online petition was initiated six weeks ago demanding the cancellation of the fireworks and has been signed by more than 2,60,000 people. A City of Sydney spokesperson has reportedly rejected the idea of cancelling the show and said that it would seriously hamper Syndey's businesses. He appreciated the concerns of the public but added that preparations and planning for the New Year’s Eve started 15 months ago.
The spokesperson said that most of the budget has already been spent and cancellation would also ruin the plans of tens of thousands of visitors from across the world. Sydney administration, in a statement, said that the city has already donated $620,000 to drought and bushfire relief. The amount will be used to provide trucks, staff and other in-kind support to assist emergency services with recovery and clean-up efforts.
Meanwhile, the city’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore encouraged people visiting the city on New Year’s Eve and people watching from home to donate to the Red Cross disaster relief. “We will harness the enormous power of the event to raise more money for the Australian Red Cross’ Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund,” said Moore.
The NSW rural fire service said that total fire bans are in effect for Monday 30 December across ten areas of NSW - Greater Sydney, Greater Hunter, Illawarra/Shoalhaven, Far South Coast, Monaro Alpine, Southern Ranges, Central Ranges, Southern Slopes, Eastern and Southern Riverina. At 3 pm (local time), there are 95 bushfires in NSW of which 48 remains uncontained and 2,300 firefighters are in the field. According to the fire service, the weather is set to worsen on December 30-31.