Australian state faces new bushfire emergencies

The Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) is facing three new bushfire emergencies with two fires burning near Newcastle and one in the Blue Mountains as extreme weather conditions remain in the state, local media reported Wednesday.

Sydney: The Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) is facing three new bushfire emergencies with two fires burning near Newcastle and one in the Blue Mountains as extreme weather conditions remain in the state, local media reported Wednesday.

The Springwood bushfire in the Blue Mountains flared up Wednesday afternoon after being fanned by strong winds, the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) said, according to Xinhua.

"Burning embers are being blown towards homes in the area," RFS said in its Major Fire Updates released Wednesday afternoon.

Two emergency warnings have been placed at the Lake Macquarie area near Newcastle, where the Stockrington Road fire is burning at Minmi and the Gateshead fire near Dudley and Redhead.

Two schools have been evacuated and the M1 motorway is closed at Minmi.

There are now more than 71 bushfires in NSW with 29 of them uncontained.

Thousands of firefighters are on the field and 95 aircraft available.

Hundreds of residents of the Blue Mountains have left their homes to seek shelter in evacuation centres outside the mountains.

RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said firefighters still faced many hours of dangerous, volatile conditions.

"We still have a few hours yet of the strong winds and the warmer conditions, the winds are expected to continue right through to nightfall and beyond," he told reporters at RFS headquarters.

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