Wildfires in Australia 'unparalleled' for time of year

Firefighters say they have "never before have we seen the extent of damage and destruction" of wildfires in the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury areas of New South Wales, Australia so early in the year.

A female Rural Fire Service (RFS) firefighter walks through a burnt area near the Blue Mountains suburb of Blackheath
A female Rural Fire Service (RFS) firefighter walks through a burnt area near the Blue Mountains suburb of Blackheath Credit: REUTERS/David Gray

A spokesman for the Rural Fire Service said that 73 wildfires are still burning across the state and that 29 of these have not been contained.

Smoke-filled forest near the Blue Mountains suburb of Blackheath
Smoke-filled forest near the Blue Mountains suburb of Blackheath Credit: REUTERS/David Gray

He said that a blaze on the western edge of the M1 motorway had temporarily closed off traffic in one direction, and that it would take "many hours of work" to bring it under control.

A list of schools to be closed as a result of the wildfires will be published shortly, he added.

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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."