Canberra, Oct 20: The raging bushfires across the Australian state of New South Wales has prompted the province’s Premier Barry O’Farrell to declare a state of emergency to help authorities deal with the threat, media reported Sunday.
The state of emergency will be in place to give special powers to the emergency services to force evacuations as it is feared the condition may worsen in the next few days due to hotter and drier than expected weather conditions, The Sydney Morning Herald quoted state’s Rural Fire Services Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons as saying.
The fires have scorched the Blue Mountains and the suburbs of western Sydney, the southern highlands and the central coast areas since Thursday. A 63-year-old man has been reported dead.
Authorities have advised residents of the affected areas to head towards an evacuation centre set up near Lithgow. Warnings have been issued in Blue Mountains township of Bell with residents told to evacuate immediately.
The second highest alert level of “watch and act” has been issued for the fire at Mount Victoria and the blaze at Springwood, which has already destroyed 200 houses, the daily reported.
The fire has already scorched almost 38,000 hectares of bush and scrub. Authorities have warned people in certain areas that they might face days without electricity, Television New Zealand reported.
The hottest day of the next week is expected to be Monday. Tuesday might bring rain but it might be as little as two mm, Fitzsimmons said.