By The Guardian:
Three firefighters were hospitalised with severe burns and 20 properties estimated lost in a blaze south of Sydney as the bushfire emergency raging across the east coast of Australia reached a new crisis point on Thursday.
Record temperatures and gusty, damaging winds combined with the prolonged drought crippling this part of the world to create what the commissioner of the Rural Fire Service, Shane Fitzsimmons, described as “volatile and erratic” conditions as more than 100 fires continued to burn across New South Wales.
A day that began with the state’s premier, Gladys Berejiklian, declaring a second week-long state of emergency in a little over a month ended with Fitzsimmons telling media that three firefighters had been hospitalised after a crew of volunteers was “overrun” and “enveloped” by fire while trying to protect homes.
“I have had field reports from out there that very quickly they saw lots of fire activity, from metre-high flame heights to flames burning through the tops of trees [and] crowning fires, under very strong winds,” Fitzsimmons said.
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