Australian wildfires injure firefighters and destroy homes

More than 50 homes are damaged or destroyed and 13 firefighters injured overnight by catastrophic wildfires across Australia’s most populous state before the emergency subsided on Wednesday, officials say.

At point on Tuesday, 16 fires raged out of control at emergency level simultaneously across New South Wales, a near record number.

There were no fires burning at emergency level early Wednesday, but rain that would quench the fire danger is not forecast for months. Friday experienced similarly intense fires which killed three residents and destroyed more than 150 homes.

State Premier Gladys Berejiklian says she was relieved that the destruction on Tuesday had not been worse. A weeklong state of emergency for New South Wales was declared on Monday because of the fire danger, with Tuesday forecast to be the most dangerous day.

Sydney Opera House is backdropped by haze from wildfires near the city, in Sydney, Australia, Tuesday Nov. 12, 2019. A (Mette Estep / NTB scanpix via AP)

“I have to confess to being hugely relieved this morning that yesterday our amazing volunteers and emergency service personnel withstood the catastrophic conditions and did manage to save life and property,” Berejiklian tells reporters in Sydney.

Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said none of the injured firefighters had been seriously hurt.


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