Massive wildfires in Australia threaten urban areas

Sydney, Nov 7 (IANS) More than 50 wildfires raging through Australia’s New South Wales on Monday have already burnt some 6,600 hectares and are threatening to affect urban areas, a fire service official said.

Firefighters have urged residents of Port Stephens to be on alert as there was a possibility that the 80 km front could spread, as a result of rising temperatures and strong winds.

“Fire activity has increased in the area,” Efe news quoted New South Wales Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons as saying.

In total, there are 52 active fires in this state, 12 of which firefighters were still fighting to control.

There were no reports of any injuries or fatalities due to the blazes, though it was believed that some houses were damaged.

Two minors were also arrested for attempting to ignite another fire near Port Stephens.

Australian authorities recently issued warnings over the increased risk of forest fires due to extreme heat waves and higher carbon dioxide emissions.

The fire season in Australia varies by region and weather conditions, and in New South Wales the fire season strikes in the spring-summer time.