The threat of intense bushfires looms over New South Wales as record spring temperatures and high winds fan the flames of more than 60 blazes already burning in Australia’s most populous state, authorities have warned.
Several cities along the east coast saw record spring temperatures Tuesday, according to Australia’s Bureau of Meterology (BOM). Sydney, the NSW capital, was expected to record its hottest September day ever Wednesday, with BOM forecasting a high of 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit).
Senior BOM meteorologist Miriam Bradbury said NSW was experiencing “record September heat, dangerous fire weather conditions and gusty winds,” in a video posted Wednesday to X, formerly known as Twitter.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 65 fires were burning across NSW, nearly a third of which were uncontained, the state’s Rural Fire Service (NSWRFS) said in a statement on Facebook.
“It’s the worst risk we’ve faced since the Black Summer fires of 2019,” NSWRFS commissioner Rob Rogers said Tuesday, according to public broadcaster ABC, referring to the 2019-2020 bushfire season that killed dozens of people and a billion animals as it burned through more than 10 million hectares.
The NSWRFS on Tuesday enacted a total fire ban, including on barbecues, camp fires and activities like welding, for Sydney and the surrounding area.