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Australia NSW fires destroy at least 150 homes, two people found dead

05:57  09 november  2019
05:57  09 november  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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Two people are dead, five are unaccounted for and more than 150 homes have been destroyed as New South Wales's unprecedented bushfire emergency continues through a second day.

Two fires are still burning at emergency warning level in NSW — at the height of the chaos yesterday, 17 blazes were given that status.

Firefighters said they found one body in a vehicle near Kangawalla, about 10 kilometres east of Glen Innes, where one of the most intense blazes took hold in the state's north.

Terrifying moment Qantas plane is forced to abort its landing because of thick smoke from bushfires that have killed two and destroyed 150 homes

  Terrifying moment Qantas plane is forced to abort its landing because of thick smoke from bushfires that have killed two and destroyed 150 homes A passenger on a flight landing at Port Macquarie on NSW's mid-north coast, where two emergency level blazes continued to burn on Saturday, filmed their plane forced to attempt a 'go-around'.A Qantas plane has been forced to abort its landing due to thick smoke from bushfires that have killed two and destroyed 150 homes.

a close up of an old building: Bobin Public School was razed by the bushfires. (ABC News: Lily Mayers) © Provided by Australian Broadcasting Corporation Bobin Public School was razed by the bushfires. (ABC News: Lily Mayers)

The Rural Fire Service (RFS) confirmed this morning another person, a woman, died in hospital after she was found by authorities with severe burns near Glen Innes.

"The reports were initially burns to 40 to 50 per cent of her body," RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.

Police are identifying the two bodies.

ABC_1 © ABC ABC_1

The seven people unaccounted for are in the Glen Innes area. Mr Fitzsimmons said the number was expected to increase.

"That is not necessarily a [reason] for alarm, but we cannot rule out that the really great concerns that there could be [more] fatalities," he said.

Bushfire © ABC Bushfire

Glen Innes Mayor Carol Sparks described the situation in the town as "horrific".

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"The school was lost, [houses] were burnt, people were burnt, lives were lost," she said.

"People battled to save their houses and then had to walk out because their cars had blown up, it was just horrific."

Bushfires © ABC Bushfires Bushfire © ABC Bushfire

There are 81 fires burning across the state, with 43 uncontained.

"It is every likelihood that we will see fires increase in their alert level and be adjusted throughout the day as the fire behaviour increases," Mr Fitzsimmons said.

At Wallabi Point, 90 kilometres south-west of Port Macquarie, residents were spotted on Saturday morning sheltering from the Hillville fire.

The fire is one of the two fires still at an emergency warning level across the state. The other is the Stockyard Flat fire, west of Port Macquarie.

Speaking this morning, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the situation was "beyond serious".

"We are seeing a situation in NSW with these fires that we have not seen before," she said.

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The RFS also confirmed more than 30 people had been injured in the blazes.

Away from the Glen Innes fire, it has been confirmed homes were destroyed by a blaze at Hillville, south-west of Taree, which also ripped along the Pacific Highway and burnt trucks.

Homes have also been destroyed in Nymboida, south-west of Grafton.

Bushfire © ABC Bushfire

In Bobin, 85km south-west of Port Macquarie, several homes were destroyed and the school, which dates to 1883, was razed.

Speaking from his home, which is caught up in the Hillville fire, Mid Coast Council Mayor David West said he feared for people living in the area.

"It is a monster," Councillor West said.

"It is such a tinder-dry environment, [and] the amount of water that we have available is critical at the moment.

"I plead with people that aren't affected by the fires to ration what water they're using, because it may get to the point where we need the water we have available, potable water, to fight the fires.

"It is that bad."

There are about 1,000 firefighters on the ground with 300 support staff.

The other two emergency fires are burning within 150km of Port Macquarie on the mid-north coast.

In a Facebook post, the RFS said: "While conditions have eased compared to yesterday, Very High fire danger will continue for many areas today."

Port Macquarie appeared apocalyptic yesterday as the sky turned red and thick dark smoke engulfed the regional centre.

Yesterday, there were multiple reports of people being trapped in their homes.

Some of the fires were so fierce they began creating their own weather systems.

Almost 1,200 firefighters and two large air tankers were deployed to fight the blazes on Friday.

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There are more than 50 blazes across New South Wales and Queensland with up to 20,000 firefighters trying to stop them spreading, including women fighting on the frontline.Thousands of firefighters are working tirelessly as catastrophic conditions threaten homes and lives in the east of Australia, including women putting themselves on the front line in what was once considered a male-only job.

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