Weather conditions continued to worsen on Tuesday, November 12, in New South Wales (NSW) state as fire fighters battle multiple bush fires. According to the NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS), there are currently 57 fires ongoing at of 09:00 (local time) on Tuesday and 28 are uncontained. Catastrophic fire danger warnings remain in place for the Greater Sydney, Greater Hunter, and Illawarra Shoalhaven areas as high temperatures, low humidity, and strong winds are forecast through Tuesday. Over 3000 fire fighters and 60 aircraft are prepared to assist in containing bush fires that may breakout or spread over the coming days. Authorities closed almost 600 schools on Tuesday as a precaution.
A week-long state of emergency was declared in NSW on Monday, November 11, by state officials due to the bush fires. Individuals in the catastrophic fire danger areas are being advised to prepare to evacuate on short notice and to avoid bush fire prone areas. A heightened security presence, road closures, and power outages are to be expected in the vicinity of any wildfires. Up-to-date information on the fires can be found on the NSW RFS website here.
At least three people have been killed and more than 150 homes have been destroyed since the wildfires broke out in NSW on October 9. Authorities have indicated that the fires are due to high temperatures and drought.
Wildfires are an annual event in Australia between December and February; however, the authorities have been on high alert since September 2015 over unseasonably warm temperatures, prompting scientists to speculate that climate change could be extending and increasing the intensity of the fire season.
Individuals present in New South Wales are advised to keep abreast of warnings and adhere to any instructions issued by local authorities, notably evacuation orders. As high temperatures are expected in the near-term, individuals are also advised to remain hydrated and minimize outdoor activities. Furthermore, individuals should limit outdoor activities until the situation normalizes and those with chronic respiratory illnesses should exercise increased caution; seek medical attention if experiencing breathing difficulties or other health concerns.
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