Sydney to heat up
With temperatures set to hit the low 40s in some areas of Sydney today, health authorities are warning people to stay indoors between 11.00am and 4.00pm.
It is forecast to reach 36C in Sydney CBD, 40C in Parramatta, 41C in Liverpool and 42C in Penrith today.
NSW Health said the combined effects of heat and bushfire smoke could compound underlying medical and respiratory problems.
NSW Police have advised anyone who notices children or pets locked in cars to call triple 0.
The Bureau of Meteorology said there is a slight chance of a thunderstorm later today.
NSW braces for 'very difficult' fire day
NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said it would be a "very complex, very difficult day" for firefighters with many blazes already burning close to densely populated areas.
Very high to severe fire danger warnings are in place for much of the eastern part of the state and nine regions have total fire bans in place.
"We are going to see hot conditions [and] dry atmosphere, particularly dry air mass that's bringing this heat from the centre of Australia," Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.
At least 2.7 million hectares, with a perimeter of 19,235 kilometres, have been burnt so far this bushfire season.
Some people, who live in areas difficult for fire crews to access, have taken fighting the flames into their own hands, creating their own "renegade" fire brigades.
Water restrictions start today
From today, Sydney will be subject to level two water restrictions, meaning gardens and lawns can only be watered with a watering can or a bucket, before 10:00am and after 4:00pm.
That same time-of-day rule applies to houses with water irrigations systems and they can only be turned on for 15 minutes per day.
Cars must now also be washed using a bucket, unless they are being cleaned at a commercial car wash.
The tougher restrictions were introduced after Sydney's dam levels dropped to 45 per cent, while level three water restrictions are expected to come into effect when levels drop to 30 per cent.
Man charged with impersonating RFS officer
A man will appear in court today charged with impersonating a NSW Rural Fire Service officer and attempting to defraud people by providing false and misleading statements.
The 36-year-old's Byron Bay home was searched last month when police seized a number of items including documents related to alleged fraudulent activity.
He was initially charged with several charges including dishonestly obtaining property by deception and renewing a registration by false statement.
Following further inquiries he attended Lismore Police Station and was arrested and charged with impersonating an officer to exercise a function and two counts of doing an act intending to pervert the course of justice.
Man charged over car crash
A 70-year-old driver has been charged over a car crash police allege was intentional and left three people seriously injured in Sydney's west last week.
Police responded to a report a Toyota Hilux crashed into a wall on Campbelltown Road in Campbelltown on December 5.
Two female passengers — aged 17 and 63 — suffered spinal injuries and various fractures and are in a serious but stable condition.
The driver was charged with two counts of cause grievous bodily harm to person with intent and was refused bail to appear in court on February 5.ABC