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Australia battles bushfires, prepares for 'catastrophic' conditions

10 November 2019

"These fires have already claimed two lives. and as we get access to further areas that have been cut off we are expecting worse news again", Morrison said during a televised news conference in Sydney.

"There are other states where the risk is also high", Morrison said, adding that a nationwide emergency meeting of fire and emergency services chiefs had been called earlier that day.

Fletcher had messaged a neighbor that she had chose to abandon her house to the flames, which witnesses in the area said had became a wall 20 feet (6 meters) high that emitted smoke so thick it blotted out the sun.

"At this stage, it appears at least 100 homes have been destroyed in yesterday's bush fires", the fire service said in an update early Saturday. "Firefighters are unable to prevent the fire advancing". One sustained neck and spinal injuries when she was knocked to the ground as she stepped out of the truck, and the second firefighter, inside the truck, sustained neck injuries.

As hot and windy weather eased slightly on Saturday, the number of most serious fires fell to just a handful from an unprecedented 17 on Friday.

But the wider focus is now on preparations for the week ahead.

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Emergency warnings have been issued from the Blue Mountains to the Queensland border.

Firefighters found another body on Saturday morning in a burned auto near Glen Innes, a victim of the same fire, officials said.

Last month, two people died while trying to protect their home.

"These conditions will be as bad, if not worse, than those experienced on Friday as they will be across a much broader area including large population centres like Sydney".

The RFS will also coordinate relief work with the Australian Defence Force.

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison comforts 85-year-old evacuee Owen Whalan of Half Chain road in Koorainghat during a visit to Club Taree Evacuation Centre in Taree, New South Wales, Australia, November 10, 2019.

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Nearly 100 blazes pockmarked the New South Wales and Queensland countryside - although just five of them remained highly risky.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said students sitting their HSC should contact their school if unsure if exams will occur, or if it is unsafe for them to get to an examination venue. Cash payment would include 1,000 Australian dollars ($685) for eligible adults and 400 Australian dollars ($273) for eligible children, it said.

A burned auto at a property destroyed by fire at Old Bar, 350km north of Sydney on Sunday.

The NSW RFS said based on the latest forecast, there was likely to be "widespread severe and extreme fire danger" that is expected to stretch from the Queensland border to the south coast, and across the Central West in the coming days.

The conditions would only worsen on Saturday, NSF Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told ABC News.

But across an area spanning nearly 1,000 kilometres, schools were burnt, at least 150 homes were destroyed, while the authorities were forced to evacuate detention centres and old people's homes.

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Australia battles bushfires, prepares for 'catastrophic' conditions