Royal National Park Closed After Blaze

The Royal National Park south of Sydney will remain closed for the next two days after an out of control fire tore through bushland forcing hundreds of hikers and tourists to be rescued by boat.

The blaze, which appears to have been deliberately lit on Saturday, has burnt through more than 600 hectares.

Firefighters worked through the night to contain it and will continue carrying out backburning on the eastern side on Sunday, the RFS said.

The national park will remain closed on Sunday and Monday with access only for residents.

Hundreds of visitors to the Royal National Park were rescued by boat from beaches after becoming stranded.


“For those that left vehicles at Bundeena yesterday. You can return using the Cronulla Ferry service and drive out of the park,” NSW RFS tweeted on Sunday.

The blaze is being treated as suspicious with specialist investigators heading into the park on Sunday, a NSW Police spokeswoman told AAP.

RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said it was lucky nobody was killed in the blaze and it’s infuriating people could think of starting a fire on purpose.

“It is absolutely frustrating as I think the average person in the community finds its just unbelievable that people would do that. Given there was more than one fire obviously we are concerned about how the fires started,” he told the Seven Network.

The frustrating thing is that luckily there was no one killed, but it could have quite easily been very different if it wasn’t for all the agencies working together. And look at the cost – this firefighting effort will cost millions of dollars. There is a cost of these things, let alone that trauma to the individuals,” Mr Rogers said.

More than 100 firefighters battled the blaze on Saturday evening, supported by water bombers and aircraft.

A large blaze north of Tamworth, in the state’s north, threatened properties close to Bundarra while firefighters brought a fire under control near Taralga that had also endangered homes.

Both blazes have been downgraded to Watch and Act, the RFS said Sunday.

NSW has endured hot, dry temperatures for several days, with Sunday expected to bring no relief.

Total fire bans have been declared for the Southern Ranges, Central Ranges, Greater Hunter and North Western regions on Sunday.