Australia bushfires: Sydney area faces ‘catastrophic’ threat


Australia has warned of a “catastrophic” bushfire threat to areas surrounding Sydney, its largest city. Residents in vulnerable communities are being urged to leave and seek shelter in shopping centres.

At least three people are dead and thousands have been displaced by a weekend of bushfires in Australia. On Sunday more than 100 blazes were still burning across New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland. Prime Minister Scott Morrison – who was heckled by a climate change protester as he briefed reporters – refused to be drawn on whether climate change could have contributed to the fires. “My only thoughts today are with those who have lost their lives and their families,” he said.

New South Wales fire authorities has issued the maximum level of warning for the first time since new fire warnings were introduced a decade ago. The “catastrophic” warning is in place across the Sydney metropolitan area – it is Australia’s most populous region, covering over 12,000 sq km (4,600 sq miles) and 658 suburbs.

Authorities also say the Hunter region to the north is at risk from fires.(bbc)…[+]