Nearly 100 bushfires are reported burning across New South Wales state this week, threatening the western suburbs of Sydney, Australia's largest city, according to fire officials. The fires have already destroyed more than two hundred homes in the Blue Mountains region and one person has died. Firefighters continue to battle three particular blazes, concerned that they could turn into one "mega-fire" that would force Sydney residents to evacuate.
Reports on Tuesday forecasted hot, dry weather and strong winds for the next few days in addition to isolated storms, which were predicted to hit Blue Mountains earlier this week. Australian meteorologists have commented that it is unlikely there will be enough rain from these storms to dampen the fires and say they are concerned that high winds and even lightning could cause even further damage.
The causes of the Blue Mountains fires are being investigated and according to news reports, officials are looking into whether one major blaze was caused by a military training exercise.
NFPA's Wildland Fire Operations Division is concerned about these communities and continues to keep an eye on the situation.
For more information on bushfires in Australia, check out an article in the special September 2011 wildfire issue of NFPA Journal, "Stay or Go," which provides a glimpse into Australia's wildfire policy and the current state of wildfire in the country.
- by NFPA's LisaMarie Sinatra