21 October 2013
A state of emergency has been declared in New South Wales in Australia as firefighters continue to battle bush fires. Two hundred homes have been destroyed so far. Weather conditions are expected to deteriorate with high temperatures and strong winds forecast in the coming days.
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Here amid the smokey haze of the bush, the heat hits the senses. Temperatures are back in the mid-30s making the work of firefighters increasingly difficult. Helicopters whirr overhead dumping water on the nearby fire fronts. They’re trying to stop several fires from merging into one huge blaze spanning hundreds of kilometres.
In several communities, people are being warned not to try and stay put to defend their homes. With hundreds of houses already destroyed, disaster welfare centres have been set up where families can start the planning needed to rebuild their lives. Most of the firefighters are volunteers. Many look exhausted; some have even lost their own homes.
The fires follow unseasonably hot weather; conditions are expected to worsen throughout the week with dangerously strong winds forecast on Wednesday and little let-up in the temperature.
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heat or smoke in the air
- hits the senses
immediately makes you see, hear, smell, taste and feel it
spreading over an area
- stay put
protect (from the fire)
care and help for people in need
people who help to do something without being paid
weather that is not normal for that time of year
- little let-up
not much drop or reduction