Sydney, April 15: Over 500 firefighters responded on Sunday to a massive bushfire posing a serious threat to two residential neighbourhoods in Australia’s most populated city of Sydney as the authorities declared a state of emergency.
An unspecified number of Menai and Barden Ridge residents left their homes after New South Wales authorities declared a state of emergency as almost 100 firefighting trucks and 15 aircraft continued fighting back the blaze, Efe news agency reported.
According to a Fire and Rescue NSW official Twitter account statement: “Moorebank Avenue, #Holsworthy Fire: Due to easing (wind) conditions the fire has been downgraded to Watch & Act. Large numbers of firefighters will continue to work into the night to bring the fire under control.”
Police are now investigating the possible causes of the fire, which seemed under control on Saturday night but surged again early on Sunday.
The blaze has burnt some 1,000 hectares (2,471 acres) of land and the full extent of damages is yet unknown.
Recent scientific studies warned of a possible increased risk of forest fires in Australia due to extreme heat waves and higher carbon dioxide emissions.
Forest fire seasons vary a lot in Australia depending on the region and meteorological conditions.
In the case of New South Wales and its capital Sydney, the bushfire season happens during the Austral spring and summer.
Australia’s worst fire incident in decades occurred in February 2009 in Victoria (Southeast) that devastated an area of 4,500 sq km and left 173 dead and 414 injured.