Australia fires: NSW bushfires threaten 100,000 Sydney homes

Sydney residents living near bushland are preparing to evacuate as the city and New South Wales faces an "unprecedented level of bushfire danger", according to officials.

Around 100,000 homes in the Sydney area are said to be at risk as greater Sydney suffers "catastrophic" fire conditions, fuelled by 37C temperatures and strong winds on Tuesday. 

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, more than 100,000 properties in the Sydney basin alone are located within 100 metres of bushland - making them at risk of destruction.

The total of at-risk properties includes 31,500 homes on Sydney's North Shore. 

Suburban areas near bushland on Sydney's outskirts are most at risk, including the Hawkesbury region, Hornsby, Penrith, Camden and Sutherland.

"The vast majority of homes that are destroyed in fires are within 500 metres of bushland," Risk Frontiers' general manager, Andrew Gissing, told the outlet.

According to the Daily Mail, the closest blaze to Sydney is the Mount Gosper fire raging in the Hawkesbury region, affecting residents of Mellong and Howes Swamp - located roughly 125 kilometres from Sydney's CBD.

A state of emergency has officially been declared for the state of New South Wales and the army is prepared to deploy helicopters to evacuate endangered residents.

Large winds saw Sydney's CBD shrouded in smoke on Tuesday morning, the sky tinged violent orange.

The Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge as winds blow smoke from bushfires over the CBD in Sydney, Tuesday.
The Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge as winds blow smoke from bushfires over the CBD in Sydney, Tuesday. Photo credit: AAP / Steven Saphore

The strong winds forecasted for Tuesday are expected to aggravate the bushfires, with a "southerly bluster" set to reduce temperatures but also change the direction of the blaze - increasing its volatility.

Officials have advised people to be proactive and evacuate while they can, making it clear that emergency services are not equipped to rescue everyone from the devastation.

As of Tuesday morning, there were 57 fires, 28 of them uncontained, burning through New South Wales.

The bushfires in the state and in Queensland have killed three people since they ignited last week, with 100 others injured including 20 firefighters. Over 150 homes in northern New South Wales and nine in Queensland have been destroyed.

More than 400 schools have been closed.