Residents in parts of eastern Australia evacuated their homes on Tuesday as soaring temperatures and strong winds threatened to fan bushfires in a giant blaze north of Sydney, the country’s biggest city.
Sydney residents are facing the city’s toughest water restrictions in more than a decade amid a severe drought and deadly bushfires in eastern Australia, while air quality in parts of Sydney plunged as the city awoke to another thick blanket of smoke, disrupting transport services and prompting health warnings from authorities, BBC reports.
On Tuesday, level two restrictions were enacted in the capital of New South Wales (NSW), a state 99.9% in drought. These could be increased to level three within months, local media report.
Reuters report that more than 100 fires are ablaze in New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria states in eastern Australia, many of which have been burning since November. The fires have killed at least four people, destroyed more than 680 homes and burned more than 2.5 million acres (1 million hectares) of bushland.
After a brief respite over the weekend, conditions are set to worsen on Tuesday as temperatures top 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) and winds pick up, stoking fears that fires could spread to more populated areas.
Such forecasts have heightened worries about a so-called megablaze burning north of Sydney.