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Australia: firefighters battle wildfires near Sydney as more extreme weather forecast

Australia: firefighters battle wildfires near Sydney as more extreme weather forecast
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Australian firefighters are working against the clock to contain wildfires on the outskirts of Sydney.

The huge blazes have burned through more than 120,000 hectares in an area with a perimeter of 1,600 kilometres.

Around 60 fires are still burning, with the largest and most dangerous in the Blue Mountains, around 100 kilometres west of Sydney.

More than 200 homes have been destroyed since the blazes started on Thursday. One man died of a heart attack while trying to protect his home.

Now there are forecasts of high winds and dangerously hot temperatures of around mid 30 degrees celsius for Wednesday.

Local fire service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons warned that worse was on its way: “We do need to remain vigilant, and we are now only 24 hours away from when we’re expected to see the worst of this week’s weather conditions starting to materialise across all these fire grounds.”

Elderly residents were moved out of nursing homes and local schools were closed for the day ahead of the bad weather.

Thousands of firefighters and hundreds of fire engines have been brought in as well as 90 aircraft.