A giant bushfire on the edge of Sydney, which has blanketed the city in smoke causing a spike in respiratory illnesses and the cancellation of outdoor sports, will take weeks to control but will not be extinguished without heavy rains, firefighters said.
The blaze was burning across 300,000 hectares (740,000 acres) – with a front roughly 60km (37 miles) wide – within an hour’s drive of Australia’s largest city, which was again subsumed in a soup of toxic smoke. New South Wales Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers on Friday said “there are probably more than eight fires in all” that have merged to form what has been dubbed a “mega fire” in an area of the national park forest.
“There is just fire that whole way,” said Rogers, who added that firefighters could do little more than get any residents out, protect property and hope for an end to fire-friendly dry and windy conditions.
We “cannot stop these fires, they will just keep burning until conditions ease, and then we’ll try to do what we can to contain them,” he told public broadcaster ABC. “The best thing we can do is try to protect property and people as much as we can.”
Prolonged drought has left much of eastern Australia tinder-dry and spot fires have raged every day for the past three months.
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