Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called up about 3,000 reservists as the threat of wildfires escalated Saturday in at least three states.
The fire broke containment lines Friday and was described as “virtually unstoppable” as it destroyed buildings and burned through more than 14,000 hectares (35,000 acres) of Flinders Chase National Park. While the warning level for the fire was reduced Saturday, the Country Fire Service said it was still a risk to lives and property.
Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fizsimmons said the 264,000-hectare (652,000-acre) Green Wattle Creek fire in a national park west of Sydney had the potential to spread into Sydney’s western suburbs.
More than 130 fires are burning in New South Wales and at least half of those are out of control. Temperatures in parts of the state are expected to soar in the mid-40s Celsius (about 113 Fahrenheit) amid strong winds and low humidity.
A total of 50 fires were burning across almost 320,000 hectares (791,000 acres) in Victoria state and conditions are expected to worsen with a southerly wind change.