It is an unprecedented bushfire event New South Wales has ever seen with more than 80 fire fronts with 36 of them burning out of control. People are trapped in their homes, two people are known to be dead, however, many homes have burnt down with firefighters not able to reach so the death total is expected to rise significantly.
According to Reuters, two people have died, five are missing and at least 150 homes have been destroyed as bushfires rage across eastern Australia, authorities said on Saturday. The New South Wales Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) confirmed two people had been killed by a fire near Glen Innes, more than 550 km (340 miles) north of Sydney. One body was discovered in a vehicle and a woman died after being found suffering from burns on Friday. Five other people remain unaccounted for on Saturday afternoon, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying he feared the number of deaths could rise. “These fires have already claimed two lives ... and as we get access to further areas that have been cut off we are expecting worse news again,” Morrison said during a televised news conference in Sydney on Saturday.
The fires are thought to be Australia's worst bushfire season already with summer hardly started and is expected to escalate with many parts of the country suffering a devastating drought. NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said little reprieve in fire conditions could be expected over the next week or throughout the summer months of December, January and February. “The forecast for the balance of the season continues to be driven by above-normal temperatures (and) below-average rainfall to dominate over the coming months,” Fitzsimmons said. On Friday, state fire authorities issued a record number of emergency warnings, with 17 fires declared to be at an emergency level with high winds and dry-conditions fanning the flames.