11:54 21 October 2013
As teams struggle to contain bushfires across New South Wales, a new threat has emerged: the fires are predicted to combine to create a super inferno.
Three fires near Lithgow, a city by the Blue Mountains, look set to join forces and potentially overwhelm fire crews.
The blazes started following the hottest September on record.
A state of emergency has been declared with officials predicting that it will get worse before it gets better.
NSW Rural Fire Services Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons was quoted by the BBC as saying: "Modelling indicates that there's every likelihood under the forecast weather conditions that these two fires, particularly up in the back end of the mountains will merge at some point... there is every likelihood that these two fires will join up."
But the bad news doesn't end there. In a "worst-case scenario", this could attach itself to another local fire.
Firefighters, many of whom are reportedly volunteers who have lost their homes, have been back-burning - a technique that involves starting new controlled burns to maintain a fire.
As of the start of the week, 58 blazes were still wild with 14 described as out of control.
It has also been revealed that two boys have been arrested and charged with deliberately starting fires.
Australia is particularly susceptible to wildfires due to its hot climate. Combined with lightning strikes, dropped cigarettes, arson or even controlled burns ironically spiralling out of control, Australia is viewed as a flammable nation.
Australia's most fatal natural disaster was via fire: A long heatwave and dry-spell on February 7th 2009 fuelled the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, killing 173 people and burning thousands of houses.
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