Police investigating if Turramurra fire was deliberately lit
Police are investigating whether a fire in Sydney's Upper North Shore was deliberately lit.
Detectives have established a crime scene in bushland at South Turramurra and are making enquiries to determine the cause of the blaze that threatened dozens of homes this afternoon.
The fire was downgraded to advice level after water bombers dumped flame retardant across house roofs.
The first major fire to break out in Sydney erupted just after 4pm today, with embers lighting up the suburb, threatening dozens of properties along Kissing Point Road near Canoon Road.
A firefighter suffered a fractured arm and ribs in the chaos and is being treated for his injuries.
Residents said the intensity of the blaze took them by surprise.
"Walked out the front door, fire trucks racing down the street, flames three, four metres tall…pretty hectic," Sean Murphy told 9News.
"Well a fire started, it seems like only 20 to 30 metres in but it only took five or 10 minutes until the whole lot took up and flames probably about 150 feet in the air through the tree tops," resident Douglass Greening said.
"Very close indeed, strong wind, very dry conditions but firies as usual were here very, very fast."
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"I got the hose out and there's no water pressure or anything, we've had these a few times, but still scary," another resident said.
One distraught woman, whose house was spared, thanked fire crews for their efforts saying she feared the worst when flames began licking near her property.
"I just want to say thank you to everyone. Thank you for all your support and all you have done for us today," Diksha Anand told 9News.
"I was really scared when I was leaving the house – but I'm feeling safe again."
Aerial footage from the scene showed homes covered in red fire retardant as crews worked to save them, however the dry conditions proved difficult, with reports one property was damaged on Lyon Avenue off Canoon Road.
A large air tanker provided aerial support, with residents earlier warned the fire was spreading quickly and it was too late to leave.
"It was a really good outcome. This was the result of good planning. We put together a number of strike teams with Emergency Fire and Rescue NSW. As soon as it was called in, we had a number of units on scene and we knocked it down really quickly," a Fire and Rescue spokesman told 9News.
"When we got here homes were being impacted, front yards were alight but we were able to get in quickly and knock them down and the end result is we've actually saved those homes."
The air is still heavy with smoke and there are still fears strong winds and dry conditions could cause embers to reignite fresh blazes in surrounding areas.
A southerly is expected in Sydney about 7pm, which will bring more damaging winds to the coast.
This will move further north later this evening.
A number of emergency warning are still in place in NSW with close to 80 blazes burning across the state.
Three lives have been lost so far with almost 200 properties destroyed.