Bushfires raged out of control across Australia's most populous state on Tuesday, fanned by intense heat and high winds in "catastrophic" conditions that threatened homes and triggered evacuations.
More than 130 fires were burning across New South Wales state, 40 of them uncontained, state Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told reporters in Sydney.
"You don't get conditions worse than this, we are at the catastrophic level," he said.
Introduced after the 2009 Black Saturday firestorm in Victoria state, which claimed 173 lives, a "catastrophic" rating means fires will be uncontrollable, unpredictable and fast-moving, with evacuation the only safe option.New South Wales faced one of the highest-risk fire days in its history, fanned by high winds and temperatures reaching 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) in parts of the state.
"Fortunately, we've got no reports of people's homes being damaged or destroyed at this stage," Fitzsimmons said.
While no deaths had been reported, officials remained on alert, with particular concerns about the regions of Shoalhaven, Illawarra and Southern Ranges south of Sydney, all popular summer holiday locations.AFP