Aussie fire town that hasn’t seen sunlight since yesterday
The skies above a town deep within the bushfire zone are so clogged with smoke locals haven't seen sunlight "for 14 hours".
Eden, which lies on the far south coast of New South Wales, is close to a huge 140,000-hectare blaze which crossed the Victorian border from East Gippsland.
The smoke is so thick the town hadn't seen sunlight for 14 hours. Residents woke this morning to an ominous, dark, deep red dawn.
The RFS has been unable to get aerial reconnaissance aircraft into the sky.
There are reports people sheltering in the town have now been told to leave immediately if they are not able to defend themselves.
"Welcome to a vision of hell. Here we are at this hour of the morning and it is still darkened with orange glow in the sky," ABC Reporter Phil Williams said this morning, who is currently in the town.
"Extraordinary, apocalyptic sort of scenes. It is like you imagine about horror movie, when the bomb goes off," he said.
Many people evacuated from the town last night.
NSW Rural Fire Service spokesman Greg Potts says the border fire, which is burning at an emergency level, is moving towards the small communities of Burragate and Towamba close to Eden.
The fire was spreading quickly and "blew up" on Saturday night when a southerly wind change swept through NSW, Mr Potts said.
"We saw extraordinary fire behaviour last night. The border fire blew up and there were extraordinary changes where the sky went red.
"The fire basically created its own weather and ran at an extraordinary speed from the NSW border." Mr Potts said there was "no margin for safety" as crews battled the blaze. "At one stage the border fire was moving at 6km/h.
NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said "lots of people" had evacuated the town of Eden as the fire approached on Saturday night.
"It's moving a bit further north and towards rural and isolated property just to the west of Eden," he told reporters on Sunday.
"It's still pretty active down there, and there is lots of attention from local firefighters." Containment efforts were hampered overnight after firefighters lost power at an important water pump.
"The border fire that was driven north by a strong southerly change yesterday remains at emergency level, with Eden and the surrounding communities facing dynamic and dangerous bushfire conditions," the Bega Valley Shire Council said at 3.00am on Sunday.
"In a disappointing development, we have lost power to the pump at Ben Boyd Dam and the Kiah borefields.
"We are working to supply water from Pambula to Eden - this will be at a much reduced volume however.
"If you are still in Eden, only use water for personal safety purposes so the firefighters, who are doing such an outstanding job, have water."