Australians are being warned that the battle to put out huge wildfires raging in New South Wales is set to become more difficult due to worsening weather conditions.
Firefighters west of Sydney have been joined by others from surrounding states to reinforce their efforts.
The authorities say higher temperatures and winds mean more fires are expected in the Blue Mountains and the Hawkesbury region.
“I’ve been briefed this morning about forecasts in relation to the weather for coming days and whilst it’s true that the weather on any day is never good at times like this it is also clear that the weather forecasts, the weather modelling, suggests that the weather is not going to be as good as it had been previously anticipated,” New South Wales’ state premier Barry O’Farrell told a news conference in Sydney.
Evacuation orders are expected to be issued for several communities.
The state fire chief Shane Fitzsimmons has described the danger some areas are facing as “unprecedented”.
Australia’s military is investigating a possible link between a fire near Lithgow in the Blue Mountains and one of its own training exercises which involved explosives.