Australians ordered to evacuate as firefighters struggle to contain bushfires

A bushfire burns outside a property near Taree 350km north of Sydney

Australia bushfires hit Sydney suburbs

Mr Crowe said the property had " lost a couple of buildings", some fires were still burning and "we are out of water".

The photo was taken by resident Adam Stevenson when he returned to the area after being evacuated four days earlier.

At one point on Tuesday, 16 fires raged out of control at emergency level simultaneously across New South Wales, a near record number.

Blazes have been spurred by extremely dry conditions after three years of drought in parts of NSW and Queensland, which many experts attribute to climate change.

"Complacency kills - we can not afford for people to be complacent", New South Wales Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told reporters in Sydney.

"What we've burnt through so far this bushfire season, and we haven't even reached summer.is actually three times the amount we burnt in the total period of last season", Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott told parliament on Tuesday, CNN reported.

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A strong southerly front on Tuesday caused worsening conditions for firefighters battling "volatile" conditions in NSW, with high winds sparking 300 new fire fronts and destroying more properties.

Russell Crowe's neighbours have claimed their houses were left to burn while fire trucks passed by to save the Hollywood star's mansion.

Crews arriving from Tasmania to offer relief to worn out Queensland firefighters were welcomed by a large "thank you" note written into the ground in a paddock.

"It is too late to leave on most of these fires and sheltering is now your only option as fire approaches", Fitzsimmons said.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is "hugely relieved" that no more lives were lost amid a day of catastrophic fire danger in the state. An emergency warning for that blaze remains in place, AAP reports.

"I have to confess to being hugely relieved this morning that yesterday our awesome volunteers and emergency service personnel withstood the catastrophic conditions and did manage to save life and property", Berejiklian said.

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While conditions are expected to ease on Wednesday, he said a forecast for severe weather into the weekend and another burst of hot air next week means "we simply aren't going to get the upper hand on all of these fires".

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology declared a "catastrophic" level of fire danger, the highest rating.

"It was just chewing up everything", Karen Weston told Australian Broadcasting Corp from an evacuation centre of a fire near Taree on the mid-north coast. "I've survived two other bushfires before this but never anything like this".

The fires have sparked increasingly acrimonious debate over Australia's climate change policies, with the ruling conservative Liberal Party and the minor opposition Australian Greens exchanging barbs.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, meanwhile, said linking the fires to the government's support of the coal industry was "the ravings of some pure, enlightened and woke capital city greenies".

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has repeatedly declined to comment on climate change during the current crisis, called for moderation in the debate on Tuesday evening.

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Fitzsimmons said none of the injured firefighters had been seriously hurt.

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