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."
The destruction toll continued to rise on Saturday from some of the most costly wildfires to ever strike Australia's most populous state as fire fighters prepared for worsening conditions.
In the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, one of the worst hit regions in fire-ravaged New South Wales state, 193 homes have been destroyed and another 109 damaged by the fire storm that peaked on Thursday, the Rural Fire Service announced on Saturday.
Residents who lost family homes in a wildfire in Australia have said they are devastated. "I said to my husband, 'I remember when you carried me across the threshold'...All of that hard work the we put into everything for all years and it's just gone," said Yellow Rock resident Christine Senior.
On Saturday, 83 fires were burning across the state including 19 uncontained blazes.
New South Wales State Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said mostly dry weather conditions were set to continue. "The optimism we had for good, widespread rain seems to be disappearing," he said.