Thousands of people in Australia have seen their lives, homes and livelihoods threatened as catastrophic fires ripped through the country.
High temperatures and strong winds have fanned the flames of the dozens of fires, with New South Wales (NSW) particularly badly hit.
They posed a “catastrophic” risk to Sydney—Australia’s most populous city.
Last week Gladys Berejiklian, NSW premier, declared a state of emergency—shutting schools and putting social services on high alert.
“The catastrophic weather conditions mean that things can change very quickly,” she said.The fires injured over 100 people, razed 150 homes and killed three people within the first days of the outbreak.
Shane Fitzsimmons, the commissioner of the Rural Fire Services, implored people to evacuate their homes and head to cities.
Weather conditions aren’t likely to improve for some time. Gusty winds are expected this week, making the blazes harder to control.
The crisis comes after years of drought which has left much of the land dry.
So far this year over five times the amount of land has been burnt than in the last fire season.
Dael Allison, from NSW town Bobin, had some of her property burnt out. “We’ve had fires before but I’ve never seen anything like this,” she said.
Bushfires are set to worsen as the climate crisis develops. Longer droughts, alongside unpredictable weather conditions will make catastrophe more likely.