Some 2,800 firefighters have been battling more than 100 bush fires across the state of New South Wales (NSW) in eastern Australia as of Saturday.
This includes a “mega fire” in the north-west of Sydney that has threatened homes.
The state Rural Fire Service (RFS) said that the 60-kilometre fire front, known as the Gospers Mountain fire, is continuing to ravage several national parks, including Wollemi, Yengo and Dharug, in the Hunter and Hawkesbury region.
The blaze can only be described as a “mega fire,” Mary Lyons-Buckett, deputy mayor of the Hawkesbury City Council said on Saturday.
The state fire service said that it could take weeks to put out the fire, which combined, has already burned about 350,000 hectares of land.
“These will take many weeks to put out – and only when we get good rain,” RFS said.
The closest bushfire area is 75 km north-west of Sydney’s city centre.
Public health experts have warned people in Sydney and other bushfire-affected areas to prepare for more severe and longer-lasting episodes of air pollution.
Of the more than 100 blazes burning across the state, the RFS said that none are at emergency level and 17 are at watch-and-act level.
With strengthening winds and no respite in temperatures, the threat of conditions worsening looms.
On Friday, RFS said more than 680 homes have been destroyed and 250 others have been damaged by bushfires across NSW this bushfire season which started early in October.
Six people have died and more than 2 million hectares of land across the state has already burned.
Also on Saturday, a helicopter aiding firefighting efforts in the area crashed near Newcastle.
The pilot was alone on board and sustained just minor injuries but was treated at the scene.
RFS commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said on Saturday that the worst bushfire condition was predicted for Tuesday, dpa news reported.