Firefighters Continue to Battle Wildfires in Australia
Australia Struggles to Control Wildfires
October 20, 2013 11:50 AM
Firefighters are continuing to battle some of the most destructive wildfires to ever strike Australia's most populous state, with higher temperatures and winds expected to intensify the danger in the coming days.
The premier of New South Wales state, Barry O'Farrell, declared a state of emergency on Sunday.
Australia's Rural Fire Service said more than 60 wildfires are still burning, including several that are threatening communities. The RFS said the number of homes destroyed is likely to rise and that conditions are not expected to improve until Wednesday.
Evacuation orders are expected to be issued for several communities in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney.
Officials are playing down earlier suggestions that all communities in the Blue Mountains, where 76,000 people live, could be evacuated. Instead, warnings will be issued to communities directly at risk.
The fires, stretching along a 300-kilometer-long front, have killed one man, destroyed more than 200 homes in New South Wales state and damaged another 122 since Thursday.