Wildfires in New South Wales, Australia – January 9th, 201335.3S 149.1E
High winds and record temperatures are fanning fires in south-east Australia. More than 130 fires are currently burning in New South Wales, 40 of which have not been contained. Four areas in New South Wales have been given a “catastrophic” fire danger rating, meaning that if fires break out they will be uncontrollable and fast-moving, so residents should leave.
The fires and warnings follow days of searing heat. In a statement, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology revealed that for each of the first six days of 2013, the “national area-average” temperature had been in the top 20 hottest days on record. It was also the first time that average national top temperatures over 39C had been recorded on five consecutive days, the bureau said. In New South Wales, temperatures had passed 40C by midday at the coast. Winds of up to 80kph (50mph) have also been forecast.
Fires are burning along the New South Wales coast, and also in the north-west of the state, but the largest concentration is in the south-east, around the Canberra area. The four areas given a “catastrophic” fire danger rating – Illawarra, Shoalhaven, Southern Ranges and Riverina – are in this region. A big fire is also burning in near Cooma, 100km (60 miles) south of Canberra. The fire service says it is out of control and have advised residents to seek shelter, saying it is too late to leave.