*Hazardous air quality to linger in Sydney
*100 bushfires rage across NSW
*Two homes lost at Millmerran, in Queensland’s Darling Downs region
Dangerous conditions across Australia are set to get worse this weekend as blazes rage across the country.
Authorities are on Friday morning fighting nearly 100 fires across New South Wales, with strong winds stoking several blazes out of control. These stretch from the Illawarrra/Shoalhaven north to the Queensland border.
Sydney is still blanketed by a layer of smoke after firefighters were battling several blazes ringing the city on Thursday.
The hazardous air quality is expected to linger for days.
In QLD, firefighters continue to battle dozens of blazes across the state as temperatures soar to 37 degrees C in parts on Friday.
Authorities have confirmed that two homes were lost to a fast-moving bushfire at Millmerran on QLD’s Darling Downs.
Bushfires have killed at least six people and destroyed more than 400 homes since the start of the season. Fires are still burning in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland.
The New South Wales Rural Fire Service said there were “very difficult conditions for firefighters at a number of large fires this afternoon that are impacting on communities,” adding that weather conditions would cause smoke to settle in many parts of Sydney.
With pollution increasing, Sydney reached as high as No. 19 on the Air Visual global rankings of cities with the worst air pollution, ahead of Mumbai and Shanghai.
Bushfires are common in Australia, but this year’s fire season has begun much earlier than usual, with temperatures soaring regularly above 40 degrees C before the start of the southern summer and high winds scouring the drought-parched landscape.
The crisis has put pressure on Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who critics say has not done enough to address the impact of climate change, which meteorologists have said is extending fire season.
Colin Packham contributed to this report.