Deadly fire continues raging in Australia

Deadly fire continues raging in Australia

The death toll in the bushfires raging across Australia's New South Wales (NSW) state has risen to four after a man's body was found in a scorched forest, as authorities warned on Thursday of worsening weather conditions to come.

Wildfires have destroyed about 1 million hectares of farmland and bush over the past week, fuelled by tinder-dry conditions after three years of drought that experts say has been exacerbated by climate change.

But the 23-year-old, who has been New South Wales (NSW) Rural Fire Service volunteer for 11 years, said it won't stop her, the BBC reports.

Ex-fire chiefs from NSW, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania are among those gathering in Sydney on Thursday to demand more support for emergency services and firefighters.

At one point on Tuesday, 16 fires raged out of control at emergency level simultaneously across New South Wales, a near record number.

While the cause of numerous blazes in natural, police have warned that no one should be setting any fires at all with a total fire ban in effect over both states.

Bushfires are common in Australia's hot, dry summers, but the ferocity and early arrival of the fires in the southern spring this year has caught many by surprise and stoked an increasingly acrimonious political debate about climate change. Temperatures are forecast to hit 43 degrees Celsius (109.4°F) on Thursday in nearby Port Hedland.

Australia's government has often avoided questions on whether climate change could have contributed to the fires, in a response that has drawn criticism.

"We've got another tough day today and there is an extended forecast that we are not out the woods by any means", said Michael Wassing of the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Commission.

"Yes I am a firefighter, no I'm not a man, Yes I am a female, Yes I am pregnant, Yes I am going to the fires, And yes I'll be alright, no I won't just stay behind".

"In Queensland alone, without speaking for the rest of the country, we need hundreds of millimetres of rain to bring the risk back to something like normal", Mr Johnson added.

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