Australian officials warn of bushfires as heatwave sweeps Sydney

Sydney: Australian officials on Tuesday warned of rising bushfire risks in the east after about two years of frequent flooding and rain, as a severe heatwave pushed temperatures in several regions, including Sydney, to the highest in two years.

A total of 33 fires are burning in New South Wales (NSW), Australia’s most populous state, the capital of which is Sydney, 12 of which have not yet been contained. Five public schools have been closed due to a total fire ban across much of the state.

Two bushfires were downgraded from emergency alert levels overnight, but officials said they could flare up again.

“It’s going to be another tough day for firefighters and possibly even tomorrow before we get a reprieve,” NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Rob Rogers told ABC Television. “It will take many days to get these fires under control.”

No casualties have been reported in the recent bushfires, but authorities said some residents had to be evacuated.

Many regions in New South Wales recorded their hottest day since January 2021 on Monday, with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).

Temperatures are expected to hit the mid to high 30s Celsius on Tuesday but conditions are expected to ease from Thursday. The Bureau of Meteorology said hot and dry conditions along with gusty winds will increase the risk of fire.

The state is grappling with the worst bushfires since the devastating 2019 and 2020 fires in eastern Australia, which killed 33 people and billions of animals and burned down an area almost half the size of Germany.

Since the end of 2020, Australia’s weather has been dominated by La Nina, bringing more rain and flooding. But the weather event is “likely nearing completion” and neutral conditions, which are neither La Nina nor its opposite El Nino, would likely prevail through the fall, the weather bureau said last week.

“People have really thought about and looked at floods in recent years, they haven’t really thought about their firefighting,” NSW Rural Fire Service Inspector Ben Shepherd told Sky News. -Reuters Australian officials warn of bushfires as heatwave sweeps Sydney

Russell Falcon

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