An unprecedented number of out of control bushfires have threatened vast areas in the Australian states of New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland, authorities have said.
More than 90 blazes were raging across NSW on Friday, with many of them in drought affected areas, the Rural Fire Service (RFS) said.
It said the bushfires were being whipped up by gusty winds and heat over 35 degrees Celsius.
“We are in uncharted territory,’’ RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told reporters in Sydney.
“We have never seen this many fires concurrently at emergency warning level.
“There’s 370,000 hectares of fire right now burning in New South Wales, which is more than the entire area burnt in 2018.
The services said in some areas, the bushfires have become so intense that they have created own weather system, including lightning storm.
There were 15 blazes at the highest threat level on Friday evening, with more than 1,000 firefighters are fighting the blazes.
Also, 250 fire trucks and more than 20 aircrafts have been deployed.
Authorities said a number of homes were lost and some people may have been trapped but firefighters were unable to reach them due to the intensity of the blaze.
Fitzsimmons said there were some casualties, but did not give details.
In Queensland, more than 50 fires, with half a dozen at emergency levels, were burning on Friday.