NEWS

NSW Battles Bushfires As Heatwave Sweeps Most Of The Nation

Homes under threat in face of near 40 degree temperatures.

17/01/2017 8:02 PM AEDT | Updated 18/01/2017 7:35 AM AEDT
Fairfax: Elesa Kurtz
Bushfires have swept through thousands of hectares near Tarago

Homes in New South Wales' south-east are under threat with a bushfire sweeping through several thousand hectares of land around Tarago.

An emergency warning was in place for Tarago, 70 kilometres from Canberra, as the blaze moved towards Mount Fairy on Tuesday night. At least one home was reportedly destroyed in the area overnight, with properties and cars also damaged, and more are under threat even despite overnight rainfall which eased the fire danger.

Things will not get easier on Wednesday however, with the Canberra area set to hit 37 degrees with dry and windy conditions forecast.

The fire danger is ranked at "extreme" in NSW's southern ranges, including Goulburn and Queanbeyan, with most of the rest of the state in "severe" or "very high" fire danger warnings. The NSW rural fire service declared total fire bans across five areas in the state on Wednesday morning -- the southern slopes, southern ranges, Illawarra and Shoalhaven, the central ranges and Greater Sydney -- before later adding the Greater Hunter to the list.

Temperatures soared across the state on Tuesday, with Sydney's CBD hitting 35.6C and parts of Western Sydney reaching 44C.

The heat isn't expected to disappear anytime soon, with 35C forecast for the city on Wednesday.

The heatwave has continued along the east coast and into South Australia, with Canberra hitting 38.6C and Adelaide reaching 40C by early on Tuesday afternoon.

The rising temperatures caused cyclists to have to cut their rides short, with 27 kilometres taken off first stage of the Tour Down Under.

It wasn't the only sport across the country to struggle in the weather, with ball kids given extra breaks and players offered extra ice packs at The Australian Open in Melbourne, where temperatures peaked at 37.8C.

AFP/Getty Images
Italy's Camila Giorgi faces the heat as she prepares to go back to play against Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky during their women's singles match.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, Queenslanders will be dealing with temperatures around 30C every night until Sunday and days soaring to highs of 38C.

Meanwhile, the Northern Territory is expecting heavy rainfall which could lead to flooding over the far southwestern Tanami District and Barkly District.

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