Australia fires: Sydney region facing 'catastrophic' fire danger

Australia fires: Sydney region facing 'catastrophic' fire danger

More than 70 fires were burning across NSW on Saturday - five at "emergency warning levels" - a day after an "unprecedented" bushfire emergency devastated parts of the state's north.

Firefighters found another body on Saturday morning in a burned auto near Glen Innes, a victim of the same fire, officials said. "So you get this exponential rapid spread of the main fire front moving across the landscape", he said.

"We've got a return to some worse conditions as we head into early next week, particularly Tuesday and Wednesday", Fitzsimmons said.

There were still 75 bush or grass fires burning in NSW with 39 uncontained, the fire service said.

With authorities still to complete a detailed assessment of damage done from the weekend's blazes so far, the RFS says at least 150 homes had been destroyed.

The forecast for the rest of the fire season is driven by above average temperatures and below average rainfall, which have been exacerbated by the state's severe drought.

The blazes were so intense and risky the NSW Rural Fire Service yesterday issued a warning to the public to avoid being caught in the open because the bushfires were creating their own weather system. Schools, bridges and power lines have also been destroyed as a result of the fires.

A sombre Scott Morrison said today defence personnel stand ready to assist firefighters, warning: "Sadly, we have lost two Australians and I fear that we will lose more before the day is out".


Mr Fitzsimmons said along with the 1300 firefighters on the ground right now from across Australia and New Zealand, they were in contact with colleagues from Canada and the United States for possible help in light of Tuesday's predicted forecast.

"I want to assure communities throughout the mid and north coast no matter in which way they've been impacted, we know for some people they've lost everything, for some people they've lost a loved one.no matter what anyone's circumstances please know we're here to support you", Ms Berejiklian told Seven News.

"It was pretty scary", Stewart said.

They were also in discussions with the Australian Defence Force.

Several people are still unaccounted for and 30 more have been injured - mostly firefighters working for hours on end in smoky, smouldering scrubland and blazing forests of towering eucalyptus. A 69-year-old woman, Vivian Chaplain, died in hospital of severe burns after trying to protect her home, and a man, George Nole, was found inside a burned out vehicle, authorities said. Some homes were completely burned to the ground in the small rural town, and in one just a fireplace could be seen among the smouldering rubble. Many spent the night in evacuation centres while some slept in cars.

Residents of Tewantin have returned home and Noosa North Shore inhabitants might be able to on Sunday afternoon.

The conditions would only worsen on Saturday, NSF Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told ABC News. "We have still got a lot of active fire and a lot of fire risk ahead of us".

Across the central coast, smoke could be seen billowing high into the sky and residents took to social media to post photos and videos of smoke-laden tangerine skies and flames engulfing storeys-tall eucalyptus within sight of their homes.

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