Australia fires: Western Sydney 'the hottest point on earth' on Saturday

As the devastating bush fires in Australia's New South Wales state (NSW) continued to blaze out of control on Saturday, the mercury climbed to 48.9°C in the western Sydney suburb of Penrith.

Extreme conditions and strong winds fanned new fires, with 145 burning across the state on Sunday.

On Weekend Breakfast, Refiloe Mpakanyane finds out what conditions are like on the ground from the spokesperson for the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, Greg Allen.

Yesterday we saw very intense weather with very hot temperatures, more than 40°C in many parts of the state, very strong winds and under those conditions we saw many new fires start, particularly in the south-east of New South Wales.

Greg Allen, Spokesperson - New South Wales Rural Fire Service

I believe that temperature of 48-plus °C was the hottest point on earth yesterday and that was in western Sydney.

Greg Allen, Spokesperson - New South Wales Rural Fire Service

Unfortunately this season we've seen more than 1.400 homes destroyed by fire already.

Greg Allen, Spokesperson - New South Wales Rural Fire Service

Australia has the world's largest volunteer firefighting service and Allen says the level of community support for these volunteers as well as residents affected by the fires has been "overwhelming".

We have more than 70,000 members. In the field right now we have 2,800 personnel that's made up of frontline firefighters plus our support crews involved in logistics, communication, catering...

Greg Allen, Spokesperson - New South Wales Rural Fire Service

The amount of community support given to charities to assist has been overwhelming. We've seen hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars being donated already.

Greg Allen, Spokesperson - New South Wales Rural Fire Service

Listen to the conversation with the NSW Rural Fire Service spokesperson below:


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