This image shows the wildfire behind an emergency vehicle near property on Hat Hill Road in New South Wales. AP
Firefighters battling wildfires in Australia’s most populous state attempted to make headway on Thursday amid favorable conditions, before an "extreme heatwave" hits embattled areas on the weekend.
Thousands of firefighters in New South Wales took advantage of cooler weather and continued to strengthen containment lines. More than 70 fires, however, were still burning across the state with areas in the south coast currently at the "watch and act” level issued by fire services.
About 5 million hectares (12.35 million acres) of land have burned nationwide over the past few months, with nine people killed and more than 950 homes destroyed. New South Wales has received the brunt of the damage, with around 850 homes razed in the state.
Authorities are bracing for conditions to deteriorate as high temperatures return. Sydney is forecast to hit 31 degrees Celsius (88 Fahrenheit) on Sunday before reaching 35 C (95 F) on Tuesday. The city’s western suburbs could reach 41 C (106 F) on Sunday.
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Rose Barr said a heatwave was currently building in southern parts of New South Wales before worsening on the weekend.
"Some areas are forecast to reach extreme heatwave conditions,” she said. "With the increasing heat and winds, the fire danger will worsen into the new week, with Monday and Tuesday most likely to be the most significant fire weather days.”
Fire danger ratings remained very high in northwestern New South Wales, and high in Sydney.
Meanwhile, South Australian firefighters on Thursday were battling wildfires in Adelaide Hills, which has been downgraded to the "advice” level.
South Australia state last week had 86 homes destroyed after wildfires flared in catastrophic conditions. A return of extreme temperatures, however, are expected with Adelaide, the state capital, set to reach a sizzling 40 C (104 F) on Friday to start a four-day heatwave - its second such hot spell in just over a week.
The bushfires raging across Australia have had a devastating impact on the country's unique flora and fauna, with some estimates putting the death toll at nearly half a billion animals in one state alone, and experts believe it could take decades for wildlife to recover.
The so-called Colorado Fire, about 15 miles (24km) south of Monterey and just north of the area known as Big Sur, broke out on Friday night and crossed the Pacific Coast Highway, burning for a time on the ocean side of the road.
Adams County Sheriff Dale Wagner said the fire that had been threating the eastern Washington town of Lind was contained after burning six homes and eight other structures. He said firefighters were watching over hot spots.
Gupta, who was designated as X's Head of Global Government Affairs for India and South Asia, declined to comment to Reuters. X did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The fire began on Friday night at the factory in Pingtung county and raged overnight. Authorities said rescuers were still looking for four factory workers and one firefighter who remained unaccounted for.
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