It is unlikely the 75th Sydney Hobart will be impacted by smoke haze from the bushfires in New South Wales.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology forecasts the 2019 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will start in clear and smoke haze-free conditions.
Australia has been fighting wildfires for weeks, with blazes destroying more than 700 homes and nearly 3 million acres (1.2 million hectares) of bushland.
Conditions were expected to improve in coming days, before another burst of hot weather in about a week.
Speaking at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) on Friday, Commodore Paul Billingham said the CYCA’s first thoughts “are with the fire fighters and those affected by the fires. But it looks like we are going to be clear on the Harbour for Boxing Day.”
The death of the two firefighters was reported on Thursday night, when a tree fell on their truck as they drove through a firefront, bringing the death toll from the NSW wildfires to eight since early October.
Billingham said the CYCA has contingency plans in place, should conditions change.
The challenge for crews in the 628-nautical-mile race will be how they respond to an expected southerly, the arrival of which remained uncertain this far out from the event.
Earlier the Grinders Coffee SOLAS Big Boat Challenge, on Sydney Harbour, had been abandoned due to safety concerns. With thick smoke from the Australian bushfires blanketing the harbour and causing visibility issues,