A NSW Rural Fire Service firefighter conducts property protection as a bushfire burns close to homes on Railway Parade in Woodford NSW, Australia, November 8, 2019. AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts/via REUTERS
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – One person has been found dead and at least 100 homes have been destroyed as bushfires rage across eastern Australia, authorities said on Saturday.
The New South Wales Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) said early on Saturday that firefighters had discovered the remains of a person in a vehicle and two other people remained unaccounted for.
NSW RFS commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that more dangerous fire conditions could be expected on Saturday.
“I’m expecting to see those alert levels change throughout the day, probably worsen, more likely than not, as the afternoon winds pick up and the fire behavior spreads a little more,” Fitzsimmons told the ABC.
This is one of Australia’s worst bushfire seasons, with parts of the country facing the worst droughts in living memory.
On Friday, NSW fire authorities issued a record number of emergency warnings, with 17 fires declared to be at an emergency level as high winds and dry-conditions saw fires spread rapidly.
On Saturday morning, there were six emergency-level fires burning in NSW, with more than 70 fires across the state in total.
Further north in Queensland, thousands of residents from the Sunshine Coast region spent the night in evacuation centers, after fire authorities told them to leave.
The Queensland Fire & Emergency Services declared one fire to be at an emergency level on Saturday morning.
Reporting by Will Ziebell