This New Year's Eve act could land you in jail
New Year's Eve revellers who light illegal fireworks in New South Wales tonight will be issued an on-the-spot fine of $2200 but could also find themselves ringing in 2020 behind bars.
A total fire ban has been issued for 11 regions experiencing very high to extreme fire danger today and tonight, including Greater Sydney, the Illawarra/Shoalhaven, Southern Ranges and the ACT.
"I want to send a very clear message to those members of the general public who are thinking of setting off fireworks today - if you have not been granted an exemption you can expect to be dealt with under the full force of the law," NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys said.
He said that means being slapped with the $2200 fine or a penalty of $5500 if the matter goes to court, and/or up to 12 months in jail.
"Using fireworks should be left to the professionals as they are dangerous and can cause significant injury or even death," the deputy commissioner said.
"Police want everyone to enjoy New Year's Eve festivities but to celebrate with safety mind, and to comply with the total fire ban."
During a total fire ban, the fine for anyone caught throwing away a cigarette butt illegally doubles to $1320.
Police are also urging those out on the water today to avoid using distress signals or marine flares unlawfully or risk an on-the-spot fine of $1000.
Fires surrounding Greater Sydney: This map displays the predicted fire spread for NYE. The map indicates the communities that are expected to come under threat from embers or fire fronts. Other areas surrounding the fire may still come under threat if conditions change #NSWRFS pic.twitter.com/cDDvL6S8dS— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) December 30, 2019
Safety warnings have also been issued for those who camped out in the smoke and heat.
Temperatures across Sydney soared on Tuesday for the last day of 2019, with 40.3C recorded at Sydney Airport and 41.6C at Sydney Olympic Park by midday.
NSW Ambulance Superintendent Jordan Emery on Sunrise this morning said it is "certainly one of the busiest nights" for paramedics with many additional crews working this evening, located at vantage points around Sydney and across the state.
He urged those spending hours on Tuesday afternoon in prime position for the fireworks to stay hydrated and moderate their alcohol consumption to avoid suffering heat-related illnesses.
"Some of these early symptoms we ask people to look out for are things like cramps,
light-headedness or feeling dizzy (and) certainly, a dry mouth," Supt Emery said.
"As heat stress and heatstroke progress, people can start to lose consciousness and become gravely ill."
He urged partygoers to seek medical attention early if any of the symptoms are present.