More than 2.1 million hectares (5.1 million acres) have been scorched, 688 homes destroyed, and six people killed since fires erupted across Australia in September, however, these latest fires around Sydney are posing a significant problem in more ways than normal.
The fires are burning in inaccessible forests in the Blue Mountains on the outskirts of Sydney. Several bushfires have combined to form a “mega-fire” that is burning out of control across a swath of land north of Sydney, authorities said, warning they cannot contain the blaze.
As fires rage, smoke clouds have been devastating towns throughout the state and its capital, Sydney, and reports of breathing problems have skyrocketed. Smoke drifts have even reached New Zealand and affected other states as some fires that reached devastating levels last month continue to burn in Queensland and elsewhere.
Firefighting specialists have also been flown in from Canada, the United States and New Zealand to assist local crews with planning and logistics.
Greg Allan, spokesman for the NSW Rural Fire Service (RSF) said, the RFS is the world’s largest volunteer firefighting service. Allan said about 2,200 volunteer firefighters and support crews are right now working to save homes, lives and forests throughout NSW.