Nearly 100 active fires were in New South Wales, Australia, on Friday, with dozens reaching "out of control" status.
The wildfires have charred hundreds of thousands of acres across the state, driven by extremely hot, dry and windy conditions. Australia entering its summer months, erratic and dangerous fire behavior will continue. Rainfall last month was extremely low across New South Wales and other parts of Australia. Smoke and ash from the wildfires covered Sydney with a gloomy haze in the weekend. Hundreds homes were destroyed and there have been several reports of people being trapped in their homes. The biggest fire was in Carrai National Park to the north of Sydney, where nearly 300,000 acres have been burned. The fires currently ravaging Australia’s east coast are clearly visible from space in satellite images.
About 1200 firefighters and 70 aircraft were deployed across a roughly 1,000-kilometer stretch of the seaboard. “We have never seen this many fires concurrently at emergency warning level,” New South Wales Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said Friday. Further high winds were predicted. Local radio stopped normal programming and provided instructions about how to try to survive fires if trapped at home or in a vehicle.