At least 1 dead, 200 homes may be burned in New South Wales bushfires
SYDNEY, Oct. 17 (UPI) —
At least one person has been killed and as many as 200 homes have been destroyed by bushfires across the Australian state of New South Wales, officials said.
Authorities said Friday a 63-year-old man collapsed and died Thursday while trying to protect his home at Lake Munmorah on the Central Coast.
Thousands of people had been evacuated after more than 90 bushfires — 34 out of control — were fueled by strong winds and high temperatures, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.
As many as 200 homes may have been destroyed in the Blue Mountains, where officials described the scene as one of utter devastation, ABC reported.
Weather conditions improved somewhat Friday but high winds are forecast to return this week, the report said.
Officials said more than 12,000 hectares had been burned in the State Mine fire in Lithgow and Blue Mountains.
Emergency warnings were posted for bushfires burning out of control near Lithgow and the Blue Mountains, Muswellbrook, Newcastle and Wyong.
Emergency Services Minister Mike Gallacher told ABC a change from the south will bring some relief.
The southerly, of course, brings moisture with it. Even though it’s not in the form of rain, it’s moist air, more humid air and that also adds to dampening the fire, Gallacher said. But these fires will burn not just for hours or days; they’ll burn for weeks in some of these areas.