Firefighters have been working all night in New South Wales, trying to contain contain blazes which are still burning across the state.
Hundreds of homes have already been lost, and at least one person has been confirmed dead, with authorities warning more bodies could be discovered as they begin to investigate burned-out buildings.
One quote from New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell, giving during a sober press conference yesterday evening speaks to the severity of the situation:
“I suspect if we get through that without the loss of life we should all thank God for miracles.”
According to authorities around 2,000 firefighters are still trying to put out multiple blazes across the state, and police and rescue units will today try to find residents who are unaccounted for.
The worst fires appear to be at Springwood and Lithgow — both in the Blue Mountains, as well as another near Newcastle at Nords Wharf. Emergency warnings remain in place for all three.
There were reports late yesterday evening that traffic on the Hume Highway was backed-up for 30 kilometres after it was shut in both directions as a result of the infernos, and major delays are expected this morning.
Hundreds of residents were forced to evacuate, and spent the night in emergency accommodation. There were also mass power outages which effected thousands of homes.
In a statement released on Facebook New South Wales Fire Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said the full extend of the carnage was yet to be revealed.
“It has clearly been a difficult and dangerous day for many of our members, and for communities affected by fires in areas including the Blue Mountains, Port Stephens, Lake Macquarie and Wingecarribee, as well as the Hunter, South Coast and northern region of NSW,” he said.
“Sadly, indications are there have been substantial losses from these fires. In some of these fire areas it is likely there have been dozens, if not hundreds of homes destroyed.
“These fires will have (long lasting effects) for all involved.”
Earlier, Deputy Rural Fire Service Commissioner Rob Rogers had said the fires were the worst he’d seen in more than a decade and that it would not get better for some time yet.
“It was a very warm winter, a very dry winter … we’re not even one month into spring and we’ve already got this,” he said.
We will have more developments as they come to hand.
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