Australian bushfires: Thousands have been forced to leave their homes

Last updated at 08:06
firefighters-tackling-fire.Getty Images
Firefighters have been tackling extreme bushfires in Australia

Two Australian states have called a state of emergency and residents have been asked to leave their homes as bushfires continue to burn in Australia.

Officials have confirmed that around 150 homes in the state of New South Wales (NSW) have been destroyed.

At least three people have died and thousands have had to leave their homes in New South Wales and Queensland.

The country's most populous city, Sydney, has been marked as at "catastrophic fire danger" for Tuesday, when temperatures as high as 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit) are forecast to mix with powerful winds.

It is the first time Sydney has been rated at that level since new fire danger ratings were bought in in 2009.

Schools, bridges and power lines have also been destroyed as a result of the fires and thousands of schools have had to close.

Sign-warning-of-catastrophic-fire-conditions.Getty Images
There are warnings of a state of emergency in Australia

Thousands of people in both states spent the night in evacuation centres while officials assessed whether it was safe for them to return home.

Winds and high temperatures have made the fires worse, many of which are in areas affected by drought.

The risks of Australia's fire season are growing longer and more intense due to climate change, according to scientists.

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