More homes in Australia under bushfire threat

2013-01-08 05:58:57 GMT2013-01-08 13:58:57(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English
Photo: AgenciesPhoto: Agencies
Photo: AgenciesPhoto: Agencies

More homes in Australia's New South Wales (NSW) are under fire threat, with authorities expecting additional areas will reach catastrophic danger levels because of rising temperatures and strong winds, local media reported on Tuesday.

The NSW Rural Fire Service has upgraded the fire danger rating for the Riverina region in NSW to catastrophic. "Revised observations and forecasts from the Bureau of Meteorology show the Northern and Eastern Riverina and southern parts of the Lower Central West Plains are expected to reach catastrophic fire danger levels this afternoon ahead of a southerly change," the RFS said in a statement on Tuesday.

Conditions in the Illawarra, Shoalhaven and Southern Ranges of NSW have already been rated as"catastrophic".

The RFS has confirmed that there are currently more than 100 bush and grass fires burning across NSW.

The RFS said it had upgraded the emergency status of fire at the Kybeyan valley in the state's south east.

"We are also staging a fire and rescue strike team into the township of Nimmitabel and that will respond further up to properties in the Kybeyan valley as they come under threat," a spokesman for the RFS said in Sydney.

He said about 20 properties were under threat in the Kybeyan valley from the fire that broke out at Yarrabin earlier on Tuesday.

The RFS says there are now five fires in the state at an " emergency" alert level. They are in the Kybeyan valley, at Brogo near Bega, at Mates Gully near Wagga, at Munyabla, also near Wagga and at Corbie Hill Rd, Narrandera, southwest of Wagga.

A total fire ban is in place across NSW, with temperatures predicted to reach 45 degrees in the state's far west and 43 degrees in Sydney.

All NSW national parks, reserves and state forests are closed to the public due to fire danger.

RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said it was shaping up to be a long day for thousands of firefighters in NSW.

"Right across the state we are seeing fires breaching some of their containment lines, and we've also got fire agencies identifying new fires that are starting up under these hot, dry conditions," Fitzsimmons told reporters.

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