By Zehra Nur Duz
ANKARA (AA) - A local fire fighting department in southeastern Australia on Monday exempted Sydney's symbolic New Year's Eve fireworks show from a total fire ban in the region amid heightened bushfire risks.
In a statement on Twitter, the New South Wales Rural Fire Service said the Sydney Harbor fireworks "have been approved to proceed" on Tuesday.
The fire department also noted that it was assessing a number of other exemptions from its previous total fire ban that would apply to 11 areas in the New South Wales state.
The decision drew criticism across the nation as some politicians including Deputy state premier John Barilaro urged the cancellation of the fireworks.
"Sydney's New Years Eve Fireworks should just be canceled, very easy decision. The risk is too high and we must respect our exhausted RFS volunteers. If regional areas have had fireworks banned, then let’s not have two classes of citizens. We’re all in this crisis together," he said on Twitter.
Australia has been facing one of its worst bushfire season in its history, killing at least two people and destroying 911 homes, 72 facilities and 2,095 outbuildings.
The bushfires started this August and continue to rage in the summer of the southern hemisphere.
Although bushfires are common in the country, this year they started in the south, instead of the usual north, and have so far gutted 10 million acres.