With high temperatures, low humidity and strong winds forecast, fire officials have urged residents to evacuate from the path of the fires. "Do not leave your decision to the last minute. Do not think fire can't happen to you. Do not expect a fire truck," Fitzsimmons said. "On days like tomorrow, there is every real potential that we could see more homes lost and more lives lost."At least one death has been reported. A 63-year-old man died of a suspected heart attack Friday while defending his home against a blaze on the New South Wales Central Coast, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, or ABC, reported
Some urban areas that border the Australian bush have been devastated by the fires, which have destroyed more than 200 homes in the Blue Mountains region since Thursday.The scores of fires that dot the coastal region from south of Brisbane to east of Canberra have burned 117,406 hectares (290,117 acres) -- an area roughly the size of Los Angeles. On Tuesday, officials said they were bringing in 1,500 firefighters to join the more than 1,000 emergency crews already on the ground.At Blue Gum Forest inside the Blue Mountains National Park, firefighters were doing controlled burns -- setting fires in the bush ahead of the frontline of the blazes to eliminate tinder and slow the progress of the fires. Instead of cloud-shrouded mountaintops, the valleys of the region were covered with a denselayer of smoke.Fears are still high that fires could join to form a "mega-fire" and endanger heavily populated areas of this popular natural retreat west of Sydney."We've got three major fires, one already in a built up area and two more that are potentially going to impact very heavily built up areas," Rogers said.