Sun, 10 Nov 2019 13:07 - Updated Sun, 10 Nov 2019 13:07
Australia battles bushfires, prepares for 'catastrophic' conditions
MELBOURNE - Australian firefighters raced on Sunday to contain widespread bushfires that have left three people dead, and warned of “catastrophic” fire conditions ahead, including around the country’s biggest city of Sydney.
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Authorities upgraded the forecast for the greater Sydney region to catastrophic fire danger on Tuesday, the first time the city has been rated at that level since new fire danger ratings were introduced in 2009.
“High temperatures, strong winds and low humidity are forecast, making conditions dangerous,” the New South Wales state Rural Fire Service said in a statement.
Conditions on Tuesday in the greater Hunter region north of Sydney were also rated as catastrophic, the highest level of bushfire danger, while extreme or severe conditions were predicted for other parts of the state.
“If a fire starts and takes hold during catastrophic fire danger conditions, lives and homes will be at risk,” the statement said.
Australia is suffering one of its worst bushfire seasons, which is occurring even before the start of the Southern Hemisphere summer, with parts of the country crippled by severe drought.
Three people have died in New South Wales since Friday, when a record number of emergency-level fires were declared in the state, and at least 150 homes have been destroyed.Reuters
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