Firefighters across southern Australia are bracing for another day of extreme fire conditions with gusty winds and scorching temperatures predicted for New Year’s Eve.
More than 150 bushfires continue to rage in NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, as authorities confirmed more than 900 homes have been destroyed in NSW alone this bushfire season.
That number is expected to increase with rising temperatures and dry winds forecast to peak on Tuesday in some states.
In Victoria, firefighters have battled flames leaping 20 metres into the air and 14 km high smoke columns creating fire-generated thunderstorms.
Wind gusts of up to 120 km/h are expected to rip across East Gippsland as more than 30 fires continue to ravage the state.
Multiple emergency alerts were active for out-of-control blazes in the Garden State’s far east and northeast late on Monday.
A fire was also threatening lives and homes in Melbourne’s northern suburb of Bundoora, where residents were told it’s too late to leave.
Extreme fire conditions are also expected in NSW, where more than 100 fires continue to burn and temperatures in excess of 40C are forecast.
Despite this, Sydney’s famous fireworks will proceed after the NSW Rural Fire Service granted organisers an exemption from a total fire ban.
Severe fire danger is also forecast for the Southern Ranges, the ACT, Illawarra, the Hunter and far south coast.
Total fire bans are also in place for large chunks of eastern and southern NSW, as well as the northern slopes.
Communities in the path of several southern NSW fires were warned on Monday afternoon it was too late to leave.
The largest blaze, at Charleys Forest, which has burnt 34,000 hectares east of Braidwood, was threatening homes west of Nerriga, the NSW Rural Fire Service said.
Temperatures are expected to be lower in South Australia, however, after Adelaide’s temperature peaked at 41.9C on Monday.
A fire in the Adelaide Hills remains the largest in SA over recent weeks, with 25,000 hectares burnt and more than 80 homes destroyed.