Australian Wildfires Worsen

State of emergency declared

A mega-fire is expected to form if two large wildfires merge in New South Wales this week.     Photo: art-pho/ Shutterstock.com

One man has died and more than 200 properties have been destroyed by a series of wildfires burning across the Australian state of New South Wales. The blazes, which number more than 60 and include one that stretches 190 miles, are among the most destructive to ever strike this part of Australia, known for the scenic Blue Mountains. 

Fire danger is expected to increase this week, as high temperatures and strong winds fuel flames. According to the Huffington Post, there's a strong possibility that several fires may even burn into one another, creating one massive wildfire.

“I don’t think I’ve ever used the word mega-fire,” Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said, “But … there’s every likelihood that in the forecast weather conditions that these fires, particularly in the back end of the mountains, will merge at some point.”

A declaration of emergency has been made, giving officials power to deal with circumstances as they arise. “These powers include the right to order the public to leave or to enter an area,"Premier Barry O’Farrell told reporters, "The right to shore up or demolish a building and of course, it also prevents people from disobeying an order given under these powers.” 

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