Graphic shows major out-of-control bushfires around Sydney.
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AUSTRALIA

Australia’s most populous state declares wildfire emergency

By Mike Tyler

December 19, 2019 - Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales has declared a seven-day state of emergency as extreme heat stokes scores of uncontrolled bushfires, including three major blazes ringing Sydney.

The last state of emergency ran for seven days in mid-November amid “catastrophic” fire risk and was the first implemented in New South Wales since 2013. Central Sydney reached a maximum of 39 degrees Celsius (102 Fahrenheit) on Thursday, while outer suburbs scorched at 42 Celsius (108 F).

A statewide total fire ban announced on Tuesday will remain in place until midnight on Saturday.

Around 3 million hectares (7.4 million acres) of land has burnt nationwide during a torrid past few months, with six people killed and more than 800 homes destroyed.

The annual Australian fire season, which peaks during the Southern Hemisphere summer, started early after an unusually warm and dry winter.

PUBLISHED: 19/12/2019; STORY: Graphic News
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