New South Wales declares state of emergency

New South Wales declares state of emergency

British travellers to New South Wales in Australia have been advised to check latest information with state authorities after raging bushfires promoted a state of emergency.

At least one person has been killed, around 250 properties destroyed and another 130 damaged in the blazes to the west of Sydney.

More than 60 fires were still alight, with 13 uncontained today, the BBC reported.

Parts of Sydney have been shrouded in a smoky haze for much of the week with air quality levels reported to have been up to 50 times worse than normal.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office updated its travel advice yesterday warning that further severe weather conditions are forecast in the region.

“A state of emergency has been declared, with communities on alert to evacuate at short notice,” the FCO said. “Check with state authorities for up-to-date information.”

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell told the BBC: "Today will be a difficult day... but [Wednesday] in Sydney is expected to be the critical day when weather conditions return to what they were like last Thursday when these fires first started.

"Whilst we've lost more than 200 properties [and] another 100 or so damaged, many thousands have been saved by the efforts of our volunteer and other fire fighters who've done a tremendous job for almost a week."

He added that more than 1,500 fire fighters were tackling the blazes today (Tuesday).

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