Nearly 100 wildfires rage in Australia's New South Wales state; officials fear homes destroyed

Nearly 100 wildfires are burning across Australia's most populous state, 18 of which are out of control, as unseasonably hot temperatures and strong winds fan flames across the parched landscape.

New South Wales Rural Fire Service spokesman Matt Sun says several homes were likely destroyed in Thursday's fires. There were no reports of injuries or deaths.

The number of destroyed homes was unknown, with conditions too intense for firefighters to reach the hardest-hit areas. Authorities said they would not know how many homes were destroyed before dawn Friday.

Smoke from the fires blocked the sun over downtown Sydney, casting an eerie haze over the city.

Wildfires are common throughout Australia in the warmer months. In February 2009, wildfires killed 173 people and destroyed more than 2,000 homes in Victoria state.