CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australian's most populous state has declared a state of emergency due to unprecedented wildfire danger.
New South Wales state Emergency Services Minister David Elliott said on Monday residents were facing what "could be the most dangerous bushfire week this nation has ever seen."
Fires in the state's northeast have claimed three lives, destroyed more than 150 homes and razed more than 850,000 hectares (3,300 square miles) of forest and farmland since Friday.
Fire conditions are forecast to be worse on Tuesday than they were at the peak of the current fire emergency on Friday.
The weeklong declaration of a state of emergency gives the Rural Fire Service sweeping powers to direct any government agency to conduct or refrain from conducting any of its functions.