1 December 1979 Bushfire

Bushfire - Sydney and region, New South Wales 1979

In December 1979, New South Wales experienced its driest period since 1972. A heatwave combined with dry conditions caused the outbreak of fires in the first week of December. In the following weeks a number of fire incidents were reported in Duffys Forest, Lucas Heights, Terry Hills, Ingleside, Belrose, Elanora Heights, Lithgow, Mount Wilson, Mount Tomah and Grose Valley. A number of these fires were deliberately lit by arsonists.

The fires caused widespread damage to millions of hectares of land. Critical infrastructure including communication equipment, roads, property fencing and railways were damaged or destroyed. Twenty-eight homes were destroyed and 20 homes were damaged. Five deaths were attributed to the fires.

By the end of December the fires were under control. More than a million hectares of land were burnt at a cost of $10 million.

Quick Statistics

28 Home(s) destroyed
20 Home(s) damaged
Information Sources

Information Sources

Collins P, Burn the epic story of bushfire in Australia, 2006, pp 214-216


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New South Wales

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