Hundreds of Australian firefighters on Monday battled large bush fires in New South Wales, with authorities saying that continued high temperatures and strong winds could spark blazes in Sydney.
Water-bombing aircraft assisted crews in tackling around 50 fires with one blaze in Port Stephens, about 200 km (124 miles) north of Sydney, burning through 8,047 hectares (19,890 acres) of bush, the New South Wales Rural Fire Service said.
"The bush is quite dry now, so it only takes a spark and we can have a major fire in Sydney," Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers told Channel Seven.
"It's very high today and by no means is there no fire danger in Sydney."
A growing number of wildfires are expected as Australia heads into its summer, with some scientists warning that rising temperatures could increase the intensity of the fire season.