The state of New South Wales in Australia has declared a state of emergency as deadly bushfires continue to rage in the area.
A state of emergency, which will run for seven days, has been declared in New South Wales (NSW) due to dangerous bushfires and the state could begin forced evacuations from fire-stricken areas.
According to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, the emergency declaration would take effect on Friday morning as weather conditions are forecast to deteriorate significantly on Saturday, further increasing the danger of fire.
The declaration is the third time the state has made in the last two months. NSW has also declared a state of emergency for seven days in November and December that granted extraordinary powers to the Rural Fire Service (RFS).
Berejiklian noted that NSW residents could face forced evacuations, road closures and any other means necessary to keep them safe. She said: “We want to make sure we are taking every single precaution to be prepared for what could be a horrible day on Saturday.”
The RFS has established a “tourist leave zone” from the town of Batemans Bay down to the Victoria border, encouraging holidaymakers to evacuate before Saturday, when temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius, dry conditions and ferocious winds are expected to heighten the risk of further fires.
The bushfires in Australia have been burning for months now and are expected to continue as it is still in the early months of summer in the country and temperatures typically peak in January and February. In a news conference, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “The fire season still has a long time to run.”
According to the RFS, 17 people have died from the fires across the country so far, with most damage concentrated in NSW. It has destroyed almost 1,300 homes in the state and damaged 442 more.