Australia heatwave: New South Wales authorities report facing worst bushfire risk since ‘Black Summer’

Australia officially declares El Nino is underway as Sydney set to break September temperature records
Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

An intense spring heatwave is scorching southeastern states of Australia, with Sydney hitting maximum temperatures over 30 degrees Celsius for five consecutive days in September, according to news reports.

A “catastrophic” grade fire danger warning has been issued for the far south coast of New South Wales, according to a story in the news publication The Guardian. 

A total fire ban has been issued in Sydney, as state fire service personnel said they are facing the worst fire risk since the “Black Summer” bush fires in 2019, the news report stated. 

The Black Summer fires burnt more than 46 million acres of land, affected three billion animals and killed at least 33 people. 

Amid the heatwave, the country officially recognised that the El Nino weather pattern was underway, according to Reuters. El Nino is linked with higher temperatures, dry conditions and droughts and its presence has already been declared worldover. 

Reuters reported that 61 fires have been recorded across New South Wales as of September 19, 2023, of which 13 could not yet be contained by the hundreds of firefighters working in the area. 

The maximum temperature in Sydney on September 19 was forecast to be close to or bypass the record for the month — 34.6°C set in 1965, according to news reports.

Such high temperatures so close to the coast is unusual around this time and can be expected in summer, an expert from the country’s Bureau of Meteorology told The Guardian. 

Around 20 schools in the state, many in the areas previously affected during ‘Black Summer’, have been closed in view of the fire warnings. 

The heatwave is expected to continue till September 20, according to Reuters. The prevailing weather conditions can have an impact on the country’s wheat production, the news agency reported. 

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