Australia bushfires: Record number of emergencies in New South Wales

A large bushfire in the Wollemi National Park near Lithgow west of SydneyMore

Queensland and New South Wales are prone to wildfires in spring and early summer.

Over 1000 firefighters have been working round the clock in a bid to put out what has been described as weird level bushfires raging through the state of New South Wales.

Fitzsimmons said the fire service has received reports that several communities have been impacted by the blazes, including reports of injuries to residents and damage to buildings. More than 1,000 firefighters and 70 aircraft had been deployed to battle the blaze, fire authorities told the ABC.

"Today has been a hard and risky day".

Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said: "We are in uncharted territory".

In New South Wales, fires reportedly forced the closure of two sections of the Pacific Highway linking the regional capitals of Sydney and Brisbane.

On the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, police ordered the total evacuation of Tewantin, a suburb of 4,565 people, before reducing the order. Some residents in Jacobs Spur near the town of Kempsey have been told it is too late to evacuate so they should take shelter immediately.

Local radio stopped normal programming and provided instructions about how to try to survive fires if trapped at home or in a vehicle.

It warned that some blazes were creating their own weather conditions and that fire clouds - which can produce lightning without rain - were developing. "These fires are very risky".

Firefighters moved from one place to another trying to put out small fires caused by falling debris.

High winds and high temperatures are expected to relax during the weekend, offering the possibility of a respite.

"It's a very dynamic, volatile and risky set of circumstances", Fitzsimmons said.

Swathes of Australia have gone months without adequate rainfall, forcing farmers to truck in water at exorbitant cost, sell off livestock or leave their land to lay fallow.

On Wednesday, the government announced a package of low-priced loans to the tune of 1 billion Australian dollars (€621,982/$690 million) for farmers struggling with the effects of the dry weather.



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