A smoky haze shrouded Sydney’s skyline as bushfires burned across Australia’s most populous state, fuelled by high temperatures and strong winds.
The New South Wales Rural Fire Service issued seven emergency warnings across the state where 80 fires are burning and declared a total fire ban in the greater Sydney region. The Bureau of Meteorology warned of a severe fire danger in the area, forecasting high winds and temperatures peaking at 34 degrees Celsius (93.2 Fahrenheit).
Newcastle Airport, about 175 kilometers (110 miles) north of Sydney, was closed due to a nearby bushfire, according to a statement on its website.
“If we get through with less than 100 homes destroyed today, we have been lucky,” the state’s Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said in a posting on Twitter.
The nation’s bushfire season has started early after the country’s warmest September on record, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. In February 2009, wild fires across Victoria state killed 173 people and destroyed 150 homes in the worst blazes in Australian history.
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