Oz wildfires: Weather 'to worsen'

Thousands of firefighters in Australia are continuing to battle dozens of wildfires raging in New South Wales as weather conditions are set to worsen. The country's rural fire service chief has warned "the worst of the weather is still to come."

More firefighters drafted in to battle Australian blazes

Firefighters have been brought in from Victoria to help the New South Wales Rural Fire Service put in containment lines near the township of Bell in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney.

A state of emergency has been declared in New South Wales.
A state of emergency has been declared in New South Wales. Credit: DAN HIMBRECHTS/AAP/Press Association Images

A state of emergency was declared in New South Wales on Sunday after fires destroyed more than 200 homes.

A homeowner surveys the wreckage left by wildfires that swept through the Blue Mountains suburb of Winmalee, west of Sydney.
A homeowner surveys the wreckage left by wildfires that swept through the Blue Mountains suburb of Winmalee, west of Sydney. Credit: REUTERS/David Gray
Firefighters try to contain bushfires near the township of Bell in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney.
Firefighters try to contain bushfires near the township of Bell in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. Credit: DAN HIMBRECHTS/AAP/Press Association Images

Firefighters 'water-bomb' Australian wildfires

Firefighters battling wildfires in Australia have taken to 'water-bombing' woodland to halt the blaze, scooping up water from nearby rivers and dropping it on affected areas.

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Their main attention is focused on the widespread fires burning in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, but blazes are also threatening towns in the Southern Highlands, including the small town of Balmoral.

The New South Wales Rural Fire Service is concerned that continued north-westerly winds may give the fire greater strength and help it breach their containment measures.

There were also warnings of looting in areas affected by fires, but police have warned of strong penalties for anyone caught.

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Bushfires in New South Wales rage on

Firefighters battle a bushfire burning close to homes in the Blue Mountains. Credit: DAN HIMBRECHTS/AAP/Press Association Images

The worst bushfires in New South Wales for decades are continuing to threaten communities in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney.

Fifty-eight fires are burning across the state, with more than ten uncontained according to the Rural Fire Service.

A state of emergency was declared in New South Wales on Sunday giving the emergency services the power to order the public to leave their homes or demolish a building.

State of emergency declared after Australia wildfires

Firefighters battle the flames in Australia.
Firefighters battle the flames in Australia. Credit: APTN

The premier of New South Wales state Barry O'Farrell declared a state of emergency.

The fires have killed one man, destroyed a total of 208 homes in New South Wales state and damaged another 122 since Thursday, the Rural Fire Service said.

Firefighters battle the flames in Australia.
Firefighters battle the flames in Australia. Credit: APTN

See more: Temperatures rise in wildfires

A tree engulfed in flames in Australia.
A tree engulfed in flames in Australia. Credit: APTN

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Wildfires to have 'significant impact' on populated areas

Authorities are expecting the worst as 68 wildfires continue to burn in Australia - 22 of them out of control - and dangerous weather conditions forecast through Thursday.

"There will be a significant impact on populated areas should all these forecasts materialise as is being suggested," Shane Fitzsimmons, New South Wales Rural Fire Service Commissioner, told reporters.

Higher temperatures expected as wildfires intensify

Firefighters battling some of the most destructive wildfires to ever strike Australia's most populous state were bracing Sunday for worsening conditions, with higher temperatures and winds expected to intensify the danger in the coming days.

In the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, one of the worst-hit regions in fire-ravaged New South Wales state, more than 200 homes have been destroyed.

Queen's 'heartfelt sympathies' for wildfire-hit Australia

The Queen has sent a personal message to the Governor of New South Wales, expressing her sympathy as the Australian state battles raging wildfires.

A firefighter near a wildfire in southern Australia
A firefighter near a wildfire in southern Australia Credit: Reuters

Almost 200 homes have been destroyed in the worst hit region - the Blue Mountains west of Sydney - and another 109 have been damaged by fire.

The Queen told NSW Governor Marie Bashir today: "I would like to convey my heartfelt sympathies to all those who have been affected by the devastating bushfires across New South Wales.

"My thoughts are with the many people who have lost their homes or livelihoods in the fires and I have the greatest admiration for the firefighters, volunteers and emergency services officers who are working tirelessly to control the situation."

Watch: Residents 'devastated' by wildfires in Australia

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