Published: Sun, December 08, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Australia bushfires north of Sydney 'too big to put out'

Australia bushfires north of Sydney 'too big to put out'

Bushfires fanned by winds combined into a single giant blaze north of Sydney late on Friday, blanketing Australia's biggest city in hazardous smoke, causing weekend sports games to be cancelled and prompting calls for outdoor workers to stay home. The fire over very almost 300,000 hectares (1,150 sq m) is only an hour's drive from the country's most crowded city.

"These will take many weeks to put out - and only when we get good rain", the New South Wales Rural Fire Service said in a statement late on Friday.

A three-year drought has left much of the vast country tinder dry and in some areas, fire chiefs say they won't be able to put fires out - only rain will be able to do that.

NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons on Saturday afternoon said they were hoping to see conditions ease over the next 24 hours.

He said the 60km stretch from Hawkesbury to Singleton was "just fire that whole way".

The north Sydney blaze was sending black fumes throughout town, inflicting an increase in medical issues.

December 10 is the next big concern, with temperatures inland of Sydney likely to reach above 40 degrees Celsius.

Some firefighters have expressed concern that volunteer numbers won't be sufficient and that there are insufficient water provides.

"The massive fires of #NSW are in some cases simply too important to extinguish for the moment", wrote the Australian Bureau of Meteorology in a message on its official Twitter account.

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More than 680 homes have been destroyed and six people have died since the crisis began in September.

Besides NSW, Fires have also raged across Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.

Out of control bushfires forced residents in eastern Australia to flee their homes on Saturday, as other parts of the country braced for a heatwave due next week.

Slideshow by photo servicesIs this fire season particularly bad?

Mr Fitzsimmons said: "There is an absolute lack of moisture in the soil, a lack of moisture in the vegetation. you are seeing fires started very easily and they are spreading extremely quickly, and they are burning ridiculously intensely".

The total area burnt by those fires was around 335,000 hectares or 830,000 acres, the RFS added.

The season has hit earlier than normal and has been exacerbated by drought conditions.

Is climate change to blame?

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