Published October 21, 2013
More than 100 wildfires developed last week across southeast Australia, and some are still burning out of control several days later.
In Australia's most populous state, New South Wales, at least 62 fires continue to burn. Concern is rising that two of the biggest fires could join into a large, out-of-control fire to the west of Sydney.
In total more than 115,000 hectares (287,000 acres) have burnt so far as more than 1,000 firefighters battle the blazes across New South Wales, according to CNN.
Since July, Sydney, Australia, has only received 113 mm (4.44 inches) of rainfall, or about 36 percent of the normal rainfall.
The combination of the extremely dry weather, unseasonable warmth and rounds of gusty winds has produced the ideal conditions for wildfires to spread rapidly over southeast Australia.
Conditions are not expected to improve greatly over the next 30 days as Australia moves into spring. These conditions have prompted the government to declare a state of emergency, allowing firefighters to take whatever action is needed to save lives.
Unfortunately, temperatures are expected to be nearly 20 degrees above normal on Tuesday and Wednesday. Combined with gusty winds of 50 kph (30 mph) at times, the wildfires will be primed to continue to scorch New South Wales.
A frontal boundary will move through the fire-ravaged area Wednesday; however, any rainfall is expected to be light and the winds caused by the frontal passage will likely cause more harm than the benefits of rainfall.