Australia’s extreme weekend heatwave has begun, with temperatures set to soar to 40 centigrade and increase the risk of bushfires in some states. The Bureau of Meteorology has dubbed it “the most significant heat wave of the season yet” and said it will impact millions of Aussies.
Fire warnings are currently in place extending from South Australia to parts of Victoria and NSW.
“On Saturday, severe to extreme fire dangers will continue in South Australia and extend into northern Victoria and parts of New South Wales,” BOM Meteorologist Jonathan How said on Friday.
“On Sunday, very high to severe fire dangers are forecast for eastern New South Wales and southeast Queensland, these forecasts are subject to change.”
The high temperatures will bring elevated bushfire risks not seen in NSW since the devastation of last summer. Temperatures are set to top 40C across the west and in coastal areas.
The southwest will experience the worst of the fire conditions on Saturday, before the sweltering weather moves through Sydney, the Hunter Region and north coast on Sunday.
NSW Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Peter McKechnie has urged people to have a fire plan ready and prepare their properties.
This is the first time since the devastating season last year we've seen widespread elevated fire danger, he said on Friday. Know what to do if a fire threatens you, know where you'll go.
Last summer's bushfires destroyed 2476 homes, claimed 26 lives and burned 5.5 million hectares of land. Sydney is forecast to hit 39C on Sunday, while some records are expected to be broken in western NSW.
A cooler gusty change is tipped to cross the state on Sunday and into Monday, but temperatures are expected to rise again on Tuesday.