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New South Wales bushfires worst in a decade

Tuesday 15 Jan 2013 10:37 a.m.

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By 3 News online staff

Bushfires in New South Wales have destroyed 33 homes and burned through 40,000 hectares of land, making them the state’s worst in more than a decade.

But the rural fire service says milder weather overnight has helped crews to contain some sections of a major bushfire in the north-west.

Eighty ground crews and 18 aircraft battled the 100km-wide blaze burning through Warrumbungle National Park in what the rural fire service has described as “the most atrocious of conditions”.

"We've had a very successful night overnight," said Steve Rayson, the rural fire service’s deputy incident controller.

"We've participated in a little bit of property protection where it was needed…We've started to develop the containment lines and have secured a small part of the edge of this fire and have started developing strategies for the remaining edges of this fire."

Despite this, the rural fire service says it will take days to fully control the fire.

In addition to the 33 homes, 50 sheds have also been lost and five buildings were damaged at the Siding Spring Observatory.

But the current cooler weather is only expected to be short-lived.

The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting that Sydney will hit 37degC again by Friday, with other parts of the state peaking at 40degC on Saturday.

Around 120 fires are still burning across NSW, 30 of them uncontrolled.

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