A resident uses a garden hose to wet down the house as high winds push smoke and ash from the Currowan Fire towards Nowra, New South Wales.
A resident uses a garden hose to wet down the house as high winds push smoke and ash from the Currowan Fire towards Nowra, New South Wales.

Blaze of Manhattan's size burns through Australian state of Victoria

ANI | Updated: Jan 04, 2020 20:49 IST

Sydney [Australia], Jan 4 (ANI): A big blaze than the size of Manhattan is currently burning through the Australian state of Victoria, authorities said on Saturday.
The blaze was formed when three separate fires joined up on Friday night, resulting in a blaze 23 square miles wide. The New York borough of Manhattan is just under 23 square miles in area, CNN reported after quoting Gippsland's Department of Environment, Land, Water, and Planning.
In the neighboring state of New South Wales, a fire in the Wollondilly region south of the capital Sydney remains "out of control," according to the Rural Fire Service. Around 264,000 hectares of the land in the state has burned so far.
Weather conditions were deteriorating rapidly on Saturday, with the country's Bureau of Meteorology warning that winds are picking up and temperatures increasing.
"Today will be a day of severe to extreme fire danger through many districts," the bureau said.
The country's capital, Canberra, smashed its heat record of 80 years, reaching 44 degrees Celsius (111 degrees Fahrenheit) on Saturday afternoon, according to the meteorology bureau.
In the western Sydney suburb of Penrith, the mercury climbed to 48.9 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit), setting a new record for the whole Sydney basin.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that the death toll is rising as conditions are worsening each day, adding that at least 23 people have been killed nationwide.
More than 1,500 homes have also been destroyed since the fire season began in September.
Victoria has declared a state of disaster and New South Wales has declared a state of emergency -- both granting extraordinary powers and additional government resources to battle the fires.
On Saturday, Morrison announced the deployment of up to 3,000 Australian Defence Force Reserve troops to the affected states.
The government is further planning to send four planes to cause water bombing, along with naval ship HMAS Adelaide to evacuate citizens along the coast.
"Today is about ensuring we deal with the urgent crisis that is existing across fire grounds in four states, in particular, to ensure we're giving everything that is needed on the ground without being asked," the Prime Minister was quoted as saying at a press conference.
Saturday's hot, dry and windy weather condition is further expected to hinder firefighters and worsen the flames, after a brief improvement in conditions on Thursday and Friday, authorities said. (ANI)