Bushfires Rage Across Australias East Coast

Dozens of wildfires burned across Australias east coast on Saturday and firefighters scrambled to shore up defenses ahead of hotter weather expected next week.

The early arrival of fierce bushfires in the southern spring has already claimed several lives and destroyed nearly 300 homes over the past week.

A general view of smoke from the Gospers Mountain fire near Colo Heights, north west of Sydney
A general view of smoke from the Gospers Mountain fire near Colo Heights, north west of Sydney
A general view of smoke from the Gospers Mountain fire near Colo Heights, northwest of Sydney, Australia, on Nov. 15, 2019. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts/via Reuters)

There were 59 bush and grass fires in New South Wales as of Saturday morning, with 13 yet to be contained, according to NSW Rural Fire Service.

Firefighters strengthened overnight containment lines by back burning around the Gospers Mountain fire, which is blazing across more than 100,000 acres (156 square miles) near Sydneys northwest outskirts. Back burns are fires deliberately lit to clear dry undergrowth.

“This is important work which is being done ahead of worsening conditions next week,” the NSW Rural Fire Service said in a statement on social media.

australia bushfires
australia bushfires
An air tanker drops fire retardant on the Gospers Mountain fire near Colo Heights, northwest of Sydney, Australia, Nov. 15, 2019. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins/via Reuters)

Conditions are expected to deteriorate next week as temperatures are set to rise and no rain is on the horizon.

Most national parks on the mid-to-north coast of the state, including in the northern Blue Mountains will remain closed until further notice as fire danger remains very high to severe, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage said on Twitter.

NSW Police said in a statement that a 51-year-old man has been charged after allegedly lighting a fire which is now out of control in the states NoRead More – Source